Friday, 11 November 2016

How to teach Maths

So I have this idea that I'd like to get some storage furniture for the wee one's bedroom in an attempt to get all the crap off the floor. In spite of already having raised 4 children, I am optimistic. But I also thought I would turn it into a learning opportunity. I got out the tape measure and upstairs we went. We discussed width, depth, and height; we looked at IKEA online; we discussed needs and space and decided on some units.

Her decision was to buy everything pink-regardless of practicality or size or price. After an hour I got us out of the house before tieing her up with the metal tape measure. So we went to a friend's house and had a nice time - fitting in educational conversations about the transfer of heat by radiation, conduction or convection, and some discussion of the long A sound, rhyming words and homophones, and some 20 questions and the Yes/No game. That was just on the bus.

Arriving home at tea time, she once again picked up the tape measure and started measuring EVERYTHING in the house. And that is how I know my butt measures 54. Metric, not Imperial.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Ninja style Home ed

Well, the wee one is dive kicking the sofa and making numchucks out of toilet roles. She is balancing and practising her horse stance and press ups. I could call this Physical Education. Or maybe because she is concurrently watching a video on Shaolin Monks, I could call it Religious Education. In reality, I am calling it, "I hope she goes to bed soon."

Sunday, 9 October 2016


We are doing all the puzzles

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The feminist slant...

The irony of claiming to be a feminist while having been a long term housewife and mother does not escape me. It all comes down to choice. Women should lead the lives they choose.

But there is also the raising of daughters to think about and the example I set. What is it that I want to show my children?  I hope that I have shown them a woman who is fallible but keeps trying, who sometimes looses it, because I don't want to be perfect and have them have unrealistic expectations for themselves. :-) 

One thing that strikes me is showing my daughters a woman who can do stuff. A lot of women, particularly middle class ones, talk a lot about how GIRLS CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT TO DO but then pay a man to change a washer, change a tyre, fix the car, paint the ceiling.  

Girls should also be able to do all those things they may not want to do, but have to do anyway. 

When we had a car, I checked the oil, and put air in the tyres, and got the petrol, and in fact did all the driving because my husband doesn't drive. I have built shelves, painted rooms, drilled holes, and have tried to do jobs around the house with the specific intent that my daughters would see me do those things, and not assume that men do them. And that is not easy when you live with a man who is constantly doing stuff. So Fathers, maybe back off once in a while. It is nice to love your kids and want to do things for them, but let them see a woman do some of it. That would be a nice gift for them as well. 

And Mothers, it is not enough to talk to daughters about equality. We have to live it for them. Set the example. Girls and boys should see women doing the work that needs to be done, like taking out the bins, just like they should see men doing the other work that needs to be done, like changing the nappies. 

I was thinking of this as the Babe helped me to strip, sand and paint the gate posts last week. So here it is. Home education as feminist theory and manual labour.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Important life skills

How to look up twentyone pilots lyrics on you tube:


Baking is always fun, but knowing that spatulas make bowl licking more productive is useful information.

How quickly can you you untie yourselves? I remember Caitlin Moran talking about one of the games her home ed siblings used to play when they were younger involved throwing mud at the house. That sounds great to me. One friend has kids whose favourite game was sliding down the stairs in a suitcase. Mine enjoyed that at their house. But mostly, they just tied each other up. The four older ones did it all the time, to chairs, to each other, often timing themselves until they managed to undo the ropes, scarve, karate belts, etc. It must be a genetic thing, because the Babe has decided she likes being tied up too. This time in my pilates band. And yes, she can get herself undone. I reckon that is a useful life skill.

Tie Dying. Always. Every Summer.  It makes us human.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Learning Loss - apparently this is a bad thing, so I hope you all remember the Quadratic Equation.

So I was listening to Mariella Frostrup on Radio 4 this morning talking about the summer holidays and learning loss. Is that really a thing?  Because it seems to me that if you forget stuff in only 6 weeks of holidays then either you were not taught very well, or you have no reason to use the information they are providing you with at school.

I would like to hear about all the great things kids can learn in the holidays. Like how to regulate their own bodies, and how high to climb a tree, and about their friends' and neighbours' trips to other places, and how quickly you have to eat an ice lolly on a hot day.

But apparently, parents are being told to basically home school their kids in the summer in order to prevent learning loss. Well, why don't they just do away with the school anyway?!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Home Education is... 3


Harlequin ladybirds are apparently taking over the world. We have been fortunate enough to see some 7 spot ladybirds this year, which we know because of this site, but Harlequins are often seen by us in large numbers and create a lot of wonder in children.

We'd had a fun time at the skate park - as you do when you're 6 - and on the way back to the bus stop there are these barriers which the Babe likes to climb on. Today they were populated by many, many ladybirds and larvae. We took some time to count them - all 27 - and climb over them and just talk ladybird talk. And sing this. Home ed means we often have time to stop and explore like this.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Home Education is....2

...making jam tarts while wearing an Anglo Saxon cloak.

Because why not? 

We used to do historical re-enactment. We took some of the older kids to Jorvik Viking festival, taking part in the exhibitions, march and battle. It is something we had to give up when we gave up the car, but we still have all the gear. Dressing up and doing crafts and cooking ancient recipes is still part of our home education.

Not the jam tarts though. They are just plain tasty!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Home education is... 1

...riding your bike through the cemetery.

Once a week the little one goes to Wood School. Recently she has been cycling herself instead of me taking her in the trailer. It is about 2 miles and takes us about 40 minutes. There is a lot of stopping and walking bikes across busy roads, and avoiding glass, and having drinks, and taking off and putting on of jackets, and looking at very small things on the pavement.  On the way home, she likes to ride through the cemetery. 

Yesterday we took our time. We were in there about 45 minutes, reading headstones and memorial benches, looking at headstones that look like books or scrolls, looking at angel statues and Mary, Mother of God statues, and the War Memorial and the colourful flowers. 

Education for our family has often centred around conversation. Yesterday we talked about war, Christianity, death, where babies come from, and how not to have babies because she thinks women are the unlucky ones. :-)  "Is Jesus real?" "Hilda Joyce is a nice name." This was while reading the grave of a 6 year old who had died. After a very brief discussion of how she must have been sick, "Hilda rhymes with Tilda!" "Which flowers are the nice smelling ones?" "I am going to show you the scroll one!" And she did.

We were an hour late getting home, but that is ok, because the Boy had put the pork belly in the oven. :-)