Tag Archive | family life

Short of ‘Good Ideas’?

My blogs might slow down for a bit over summer, but if you’re short of ideas dip into Michael Rosen’s book. DSC06116

This man has surely got to be a home educator at heart!

His book ‘Good Ideas – How to be your child’s (and your own) best teacher’ illustrates beautifully an approach to learning home educators already use; just being engaged with your kids.

And it shows how all parents can teach their kids and get involved with education simply by being an engaged, attentive, observational and a curious parent. A good article on what he says about that here. It’s more about parenting than teaching, how the two are intertwined, how the world is full of the best curriculum you’ll ever have, and how interacting with the children whilst you show it to them will help them learn and will build essential life skills that go beyond the academic, to application in the real world.

It’s a fabulous resource. A readable book. And a reminder how to be curious yourself so that your child will be and how this is a precursor to learning.

When you’re too tired to think up anything else, dip into Michael’s book, and you’ll be inspired and regenerated.

Living life is learning about life and Michael illustrates how easily this can happen.

Your support is immensely valued…

It’s a tough business selling books. Since it’s only those who reach the dizzy heights of hundreds of thousands of sales who hit the press many people don’t know this and think it’s a lucrative doddle. Ask any of the less famous writers just jotting away and they’ll agree; it isn’t!

I also know it’s tough financially for many home educating families who make that choice at the sacrifice of an income and consequently have a more frugal existence. We do of course reap other rewards by doing so, but I know buying books is a luxury.

So the publisher of my latest two is doing her best to keep the prices as low as she can and offer discount, despite the financial challenges a small Indie publisher faces.

Jane, at Bird’s nest Books, a home educator herself so she knows what it’s like, is also a champion of less well known minority groups trying to do things differently. Despite it being unlikely that these books will reach the numbers of the more mainstream earners mentioned above Jane still hopes to “publish fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children, particularly (but not exclusively) books which are aimed at or feature traditionally underrepresented groups and communities”, as it says on their site. I’m honoured to be part of that. We do need to put bread on the table but money isn’t the only consideration.

So, however you give it, your support is always immensely valued.

If you belong to a home educating or parent group you can club together and get a £2 discount on five copies of the ‘Home Education Notebook’ and share it among you. And if you pre-order the new children’s book ‘The Wrong Adventure’ you can also get a discount at the checkout using this code RMTWA. So head over to their shop.

And both the publisher and I would be eternally grateful if you’d share this around your groups and Facebook as much as you can and help us spread the word.

Let’s get the minority voices heard.

A peep inside the new children's book out on Aug 8th. Pre-order with the code for a discount

A peep inside the new children’s book out on Aug 8th. Pre-order with the code above for a discount. Illustrations by James Robinson

 

Education and School don’t always overlap!

Remember me saying I find stuff about education in the most unlikely places? Saw this quote in an Art book the other day (‘Steal Like An Artist’ by Austin Kleon) and thought I’d share it as my post today, to maybe get you thinking about yourself for a change as well as the children!

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So nice to have what I’m always saying endorsed!

It’s the ongoing life’s work of all of us to educate ourselves, as much as it is all parents’ job to take responsibility for the children’s, rather than always abdicating it to schools, for learning can take place within our lives all the time, not just in institutions and on courses.

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Just for today though, think about your own education. By demonstrating it’s importance in this way you’ll also be indirectly educating the kids. This book might not do it for you, you might be inspired by Instagram or cookery, but inspiration is just another route to education. Go find some for yourself!

The Wrong Adventure!

I’m delighted to tell you that Harry’s off on another adventure.

Illustrations by James Robinson

Illustrations by James Robinson

If you haven’t already met him he’s the adventurous little homeschooler in ‘Who’s Not In School? who wants to learn about everything.

But his adventures in trying to do so often lead him into trouble as his curious investigations – particularly into the more interesting things that belong to older siblings – end up annoying people. So Harry decides to go off on an adventure on his own where he can’t annoy anybody.

See how he does this in ‘The Wrong Adventure’ which will be out at the beginning of August. It’s illustrated by James Robinson, a home educated young man himself with incredible talent.

If you pop across to Bird’s Nest Books to pre-order your copy you can receive a discount. Enter this code RMTWA at the checkout and your copy will only be £7.50 instead of the usual price of £8.99

It’s the perfect story to read outside with your youngsters this summer.

Term end – sad or sweet?

School term ends, summer hols begin and so does the usual media coverage on the good, the bad, and what to do with the kids all day.

I know it’s a challenge for many parents, especially those who work out the house. But it’s sad if it reflects on the children, making them feel they’re perhaps a nuisance in grown up lives.

We were lucky enough to never have that problem – we were with the kids all day anyway, home educating. A choice we made that meant having to do without a lot of stuff that money can buy to give our kids something money can’t buy – our company.

Holiday time!

Holiday time!

And I say ‘lucky’ but I sometimes feel it’s a kind of luck many don’t want. The choice to be with their children is not one everyone relishes as much as we did.

We all have the right to have our choices respected. But maybe we should make them with deeper consideration of the consequences, even the choice to have children at all! We managed on very little, which meant we didn’t have expensive holidays, top-of-the-range brands and constantly up dated technology. We didn’t want to perpetuate that culture of consumerism as being desirable anyway. We thought about what was truly of value to us and made a choice.

Our culture is based around that consumerism and it’s bred an expectation of a right to have; have far more than we ever really need. And although I respect and empathise with those who have the real challenge of just maintaining a roof over their heads and paying the bills, there are equally as many who expect to maintain a standard of consumerism for the sake of their image, not because it’s a value that’s been deeply thought about and prioritised.

The rewards for us choosing to have less (and I mean real thrift here – no frills at all in our case) in order to have more time for the kids outweighed any amount of disposable income we may have had and was a sweet choice we never once regretted.

We realised that giving time and attention to our kids at that time in their life was of irreplaceable value.

And thinking out our values is something we all have a choice to do.

 

Find out what our home education life looked like in a fun and easy read with my book ‘A Funny Kind of Education’. A book for laughter and learning – the two should always go together!

An educational phallusy (yes – I meant to spell it like that!)

Charley and I were having a conversation last week just before my book event at Waterstones.

She’d wanted to come along and support me but I thought it maybe best not. For home educated young people tend to get viewed as exhibits really. They provide an opportunity for others to see whether they’ve grown two heads or turned out weird or not.

And they always get quizzed about exams; ‘How many GCSEs have you got?’

This question seems to be the panacea for measuring a successful education and intelligence unfortunately. For it isn’t at all accurate to assume results show that.

Discussions over dinner still seem to end up being about education!

Discussions over dinner still seem to end up being about education!

She didn’t bother with GCSEs. But went ahead with other qualifications that interested her and onto Uni that way. So what’s intelligence anyway? Not something that can be measured by GCSEs alone, although they’re mostly used as such. And that’s the big sad confusion that many parents are under; being told that their child’s future is doomed without them. Qualifications have their uses obviously, but doomed without them? That’s just a fallacy.

We ended up having one of our inevitable conversations about education and what makes you an educated person which is very different to merely being a qualified person

‘It’s not only to do with what you have – as in qualifications,’ I said. ‘It’s about what you do and how you behave as a result of what you have’.

She was thoughtful for a moment.

Then she said; ‘Measuring people by how many GCSEs they’ve got is like measuring men by how big their penis is. It’s not what you’ve got that’s important, it’s what you do with it that matters’.

How we laughed!

What a wonderful analogy; just couldn’t resist sharing!

The glums and the excitement!

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The delightful daughters!

I’ve just spent a lovely few days with these two beauts! So there’s not really any way I want to face getting back down to work, when I’m feeling a bit glum post holiday!

I’ll just have to concentrate on the excitement of my new book coming out today (details here). It’s there to support parents through their home educating wobblies; I recall a few of those!

And next week, on Tuesday evening, I’m hoping some of you will come along to my evening at Boston Waterstones in celebration of its publication and cheer me up! I’d so love your company.

So, I’ll have to make do with this excitement for now, until we’re able to be together again.

And I suggest you enjoy your children while they’re around for, although hard to imagine that it is, they won’t always be!

(Copies of the new book are available from the publisher Bird’s nest Books, Amazon, Waterstones and other major booksellers).