Category Archives: Ponderings

The Roller Coaster

roller coaster

OK, it hasn’t got a French flag.


A week from now, we will all be staying with Stringbean’s French family, getting ready hug her goodbye, and see her off on the beginning of her (and our) En Famille adventure. There have been plenty of twists and ups and downs along the way, as there should be on a good roller coaster. Sometimes it all seems exciting, other times worrying and there were disappointments along the way.

But now here we are right up the top of the highest climb, not quite like the picture, it feels more like we are poised on the summit,that time has slowed down and we are  just waiting for the drop. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been doing the final organising, shopping, pondering, packing. One last appointment tomorrow morning at the orthodontist and we are done. (Oh and the small matter of a party for 50 or so :) )

Stringbean seems confident and ready for it, and both nervous and excited in equal measure, and she seems to have realistic expectations of the  . When asked why she wants to do it she just says because it is a big adventure, which seems to be the right way to approach it.  When people question about how difficult it might be to live with another family, in another country, when you don’t yet speak the language I think they are missing the point. For it is that that makes it the big adventure that it is. I’m proud of her for taking on the challenge, and I’m pleased that as a family we have  felt able to support her and enable her to go.

It also feels a bit humbling that some other family is willing to welcome our daughter into their family, and to entrust one of their children to us in return. In a world in which there seems so often to be so much distrust of others floating about it feels good to be part of something that is so fundamentally about having faith and trust in other people.

I’m not sure any of us really yet know how we are going to feel once we have waved her off, though Butterbean is the most obviously struggling with it at the moment. Whilst I can know that we’ll miss her and everything, it is so far beyond anything we have done before that it has a sense of unreality to it.  Until it’s actually happened, I’m not really going to know quite how it is going to feel.

But I think SB is going to have a great time. Her French family seem lovely and caring,  and I think she will fit in just fine with their life. And while she is away, we will be preparing to welcome her French sister Frenchbean (well what else!) into home and our lives. Which is another whole adventure in itself.

So, as the roller coaster crosses the summit and you see the big drop in front, both scary and exciting, what else is there to do but lift up your arms, let out a big scream, and enjoy the ride, cos there’s no getting off :-)

Have a wonderful time Stringbean xxx


There on the Stairs


SB is out at Ballet class, and BB is doing one of the things she likes best -  pottering around and playing. Yoshi, Terry and the recently purchased Dragon are on the stairs. I’ve no idea what the game is about, there are a bunch of Lego  people up the top.

Later I will probably be annoyed that she has left them on the stairs ;-)

Right now, I’m going to pause, take a snap and enjoy listening to her game for a couple of minutes, and treasure the moment, for those who aren’t here to have such moments themselves anymore.

It will be  ‘Jesse’s Song’ time before you know it.

ticksheets what are we doing??

SB timetable

SB Holiday Timetable

BB timetable

ok, the title to be said in a horrified tone!

After a couple of queries, i am popping our current form of ticksheet on the blog. These were my guilty secret that i fessed up to over a year ago! Home ed is a crazy thing, in that there are pretty much as many ways of doing it as there are home educators, and the way you do it may well change over time. Reading our mission statements you can see that we claim to be child led, not autonomous. it works here that instead of actually strewing the house with interesting stuff – cos it is enough of a mess anyway without hiding interesting stuff in piles – we write down what some of the possibilities are on a sheet. I am sure we could have come up with an interesting name for it, but ticksheet seemed to suffice! And just noticed it still says timetable on the file from the days when it used to try and be a timetable – some v long time ago, as timetables didn’t work for us!

What we did was to incorporate things that have been called ‘normals’ elsewhere, and that we thought should be ongoing with things that SB particularly wanted to learn/do. Actually, the ticklist is a far more collaborative work that you could be fooled into thinking, and all the elements of it have gone up or down in number or changed entirely as time has gone on. Also, you may notice, that apart from a few, there isn’t a timed or amount value placed by the elements. so for things like the english section, which Sb agreed she was ready to work on, having prev not been so keen on writing, these activities are not hugely long or onerous, because the aim is to encourage and improve, not wrote learn into hatred.

You may also notice there are loads of items! This is mostly to encourage variety, there will always be something there that will grab attention. SB is aiming for 25 things on the whole, and if does 30, gets a book – fab! SB gets to choose what she fancies doing, and if it isn’t on there, she can add it in a free box or on the bottom. It isn’t an exhaustive list, just a tidier version of strewing! You may notice the bolding and grin – I like bold! yes, this isn’t exactly a fair fight list, in that the bold things are things that SB and I agreed were important, and she should try and do enough of to get a fair balance. if a few weeks go by and say no maths was done, i would point it out, and ask her to do some. On the whole, tho, i haven’t had to do a great deal of nudging.

You may also notice that mathletics is the only computer thing on there. There have been more, loads of different kinds of ones, but they just never happened, and so they came off. periodically we have tried again – education city, cd-roms etc, but she isn’t so computer fixed.

Can she tick the same box more than once? yes definately if bolded box, with discussion for some of the others. yes, I do value arts and crafts, but actually we do a lot of those, so don’t need this strewing tool to encourage!

Can she change things – yes, have planned to add board game as one of the boxes, as she would like that put in. Is it in the national curriculum – well, it could be, strategy etc etc! but our education is about broad, fun, warp and weft still so yes, in it goes.

The holiday timetable – I don’t honestly expect them to do this do i? well, once i had a bribe of a book, then SB wanted the possibility of getting the book at holiday weeks, and so if you look, a lot of this easy to do in car travelling from place to place, inclusive of museum info etc etc.

BB’s ticksheet. DO you honestly think once SB could win a book that bB wouldn’t want to too?? hers is far simpler, but she does do it!

The underlined bit. i wanted to show committment in these to doing things together. actually alot of it happens together anyway, but somethings are easier to organise. the fact book with daddy is to perhaps look through a more complicated book that SB wouldn’t choose. The one with BB is to get used to reading aloud and discussing with sib – and actually this is new, and working v well.

Would i recommend this – well, it has been working for us for over a year. but it isn’t perfect, and not good for everyone. SB hasn’t yet displayed an overwhelming passion to just do loads of x. If she did, then this wouldn’t work! Having linked to them on the blog, has encouraged me to have a bit of a fiddle again, and will tweak and turn them a bit more to add things and subtract things!

SO, if you have ideas how to improve, want to share your method, or just comment that you are plain horrified, please do!

work in progress – next mission statement

This is the next mission statement for SB, to last jan 2010 to 2012 [oh my goodness!!] when she will be just short of 11th birthday. But an initial immediate disclaimer!


I guess, this is going to be a slight change in pace for our mission statement. We are moving out of our first period of home ed, and into the second, consolidating and expanding phase. This is where we hopefully make sure she has a solid ground start, and then gradually work on accelerating the learning/doing pace vs the fiddle faddle space for when secondary school age. We absolutely reserve the right though to change this mission statement dependent on SB’s preferences as this 2 year period passes.

we have, I think, delivered more or less on our basic mission statement for SB. She has, i believe, gained a basic warp and weft tapestry of knowledge that now we should start to embroider with extension of the things that she loves. Not that we have tested her knowledge in anyway, and it is possible that she retains no knowledge of anything. She reads fluently, enjoys and progresses with maths, has a wide enjoyment of learning, including history, science and biographies. We have started out the path to music, with some hitches along the way, and SB is developing a clear idea of music styles she enjoys, including jazz. We have also started out with languages. We have had a lot of fun, done a lot of playing, visiting, messing about and forming bonds with other home educators who have become her friends and peers.

We need to encourage her to see the need to strengthen the areas of weakness, so that learning is not prone to unravel unexpectedly in the future. Since this is is something she doesn’t enjoy so much, we need to find and agree levels that will incrementally lead to improvement, but don’t make it an unbearable chore, scaffolding and encouraging. this is most noticeable in the area of english language, grammar and spelling. At present we don’t write or record many of the things we do, because of the dislike and difficulty writing. I think that we gradually should start to encourage a record, be it lap book, mostly drawings or photos and a few words of some of the experiments/trips out and about, and ‘topics’ should we do them. This isn’t something that will come naturally, so we will consider how this might work for us – perhaps a learning journal?

In progressing forward, we hope that SB will more and more choose what to concentrate on, and what are the resources she likes to use and how. We hope that she will now begin determine the shape that the fabric of her education will take. Certainly, when we find the right resource for her – like currently the dk project books – she is capable of prolonged focused study and discussion. This is a period of emotional growth and change as well, and our home ed will aim to support personal development too.

One of the problems of home educating and blogging is seeing the best of other peoples home ed, and contrasting it with your areas of weakness or vacillation. we have more structured friends, whose children appear to be romping ahead in all areas very happily, we have more autonomous friends whose children appear to be having more fun, creating a very individual identity, we have friends who extrovertly educate, going to lots of workshops, events and just knocking my socks off with the wow factor, and those that lapbook and project and those whose children are driven by special interests… We can’t be all these different people, but will try and use their expertise and influence to perhaps balance our home ed, being a check to whether we can do anything better than we are.

So we will remain child led rather than completely autonomous. I see it continuing that there are activities we try and accomplish on a regular basis, be this daily, weekly, fortnightly or what seems reasonable . The actual minutiae will not be programmed, and will be child interest led. Although I have rough idea of what we may get through as such in the next 2 years, it isn’t ‘must do or else’, and often I will stillskip bits : more a guide to where i see us being. SB has a wide ranging thirst at the moment, and so it seems unreasonable to fix her attention on something she truly deems boring when there are many other things to catch her spark. but i think we will gradually be encouraging some structure – for her to find her own best patterns within it, but that she develops a balance that suits between pure play, enjoyed, enriching learning and the targeted ‘hard slog’ learning.

I think the other key issue, which runs as a theme throughout, is that as parents we need to be tidier, keeping resources tidy and accessible – we can be helped and enabled by SB.

As before, i will do a nitty gritty consideration of curriculum , and am putting in links to some of the resources. Again, i reiterate that this is a rough draft planning of possible goals, but i do not tie myself or SB down to achieving them, and we may change our minds completely over course. it is a rough working for us to see what might be. It is unlikely to submitted to the LA

the Nitty Gritty


to read herself a wide a varied amount of literature, encouraging her to try new genres and authors, and to stretch her imagination. to still read aloud to her a variety of stories, again across different genres and writing styles.

to start to discuss the mechanics of style and writing in the books, stories, poetry etc we come across. not much to start with -don’t want to impede the reading explosion! but to start thinking about why she liked bits, what the story is about, what interests are sparked from it, and perhaps the use of language. This might be aided by a book club or group?

SB is also doing a small amount regularly of the galore park english, being on book 1 at the moment, and we would perhaps like to have finished this and be nearing the end of book 2 perhaps if all goes well. this is one of her areas of struggle though, so just doing a tiny bit regularly is the aim. If we find something she prefers to do to this, we will swap!


SB has stated an interest in writing more legibly, and was gradually working through getty and dubay. this has stopped for a while, but we have discussed it and plan to carry on with this. i hope to add some story writing or copywork activitities if she fancies start her on the path to writing her own stories – encouraging the use of grammer and spelling! Writing could perhaps also be encouraged in a learning journal for experiments and trips out and about.


we don’t do any drama at the moment, which i think is a bit of a shame. I am hopeful that we can look at some opportunities in the next 2 years. i would also like to start visiting the theatre more again, now BB is older.


singapore maths we are halfway through 3b at the moment, and hoping to move through a year of singapore with each calendar year, so perhaps starting 6a. it just depends really! SB loves this series, has no interest, she says, in trying anything else.

To add a bit of sparkle and interest, we will try and do some maths experimentation from our DK book.

we have quite a few maths story books that we all enjoy.

A friend is contemplating primary maths challenge, and maybe we will consider that next year.


we haven’t completed the second story of the world as a reader, although we had planned too. We are still enjoying it, however, and will finish that and commence the third. We will hope to do more of the activities as well – perhaps a bit of parental pre-planning! alongside this we have lots of great usborne books, other good books and good piccies in DK eyewitness

I would like us to consider pulling out a few things to do larger topic work on, as we did the vikings, mixing crafts, history, visiting, dvd’s etc. SB is currently really enjoying a DK mediaeval project book, which suggests this might be a place to start. certainly we are near enough a few castles!

Also readers set in different time periods, and myths and legends seem to go down well. we can use this to spark interest and discuss as and when she fancies
we may start to introduce timelines, and see where this gets us .

Historical re-enactments and visits should add some external WOW to learning, and we will try and make the most of opportunities.

critical thinking:

We are working our way through the bond verbal and non verbal reasoning books, which SB enjoys – particularly the non verbal, where she is working on the 9-10 book, as opposed to the 8-9 for verbal. the problems with spelling and grammar hinder the verbal reasoning. ALthough this may sound dull and dry, she really enjoys them, like her mum there!

We play lots of board games as well.


this is a multipronged pronged event. We read a fair number of easy access science books – such as those by jaquie bailey and meredith hooper. the magic school bus chapter books and programmes are a hit, and contain solid wodges of info in easily accessible formats. i think as she loves them, this is definitely something to encourage. Science is a no brainer subject for us, she loves it, we love it and great enjoyment had fiddling and learning! may have to kit out a lab one day!

SB is also doing a small amount regularly of the galore park science book, being on book 1 at the moment, and we would perhaps like to have finished this and be nearing the end of book 2 if not on book 3, depending on whether she continues to like this series. At the moment she is also racing through schofield and simms science workbooks for key stage 2 after picking one up casually!

We are aiming to do regular experiments at home, and have a number of kits and resources. i am hoping to encourage at least a small write up in a learning journal. We are also part of a fortnightly meeting where we do more science experiments with a bit of a theme.

We try to go to a number of RI events in the year, as well as the local science festival to add some external WOW to this area.

We have joined the astronomy group, but need to go more regularly and hopefully hiring one of their telescopes again, as we all learned a lot last time and really enjoyed it.


will still be predominantly history and holiday based, but perhaps something such as geocaching may take SB’s interest if we do it more regularly, and also working out cycling routes? it also gets covered alot as part of other things.

Actually, since writing that, we have started postcrossing, and all the excitement of writing and sending, then receiving postcards and plotting them on our map is proving quite thrilling at the mo.


we have good resources for french, and we are trying to regularly use french for a small conversation, and also to read some toddler french books and base words around this. we have enjoyed doing this, and some words are retained. I am not sure this is the most efficient or best way of learning french, but we are are least learning some and enjoying it.

I am trying to supplement this with dvd/video/cd’s and may, hopefully, have some french sessions with a friend on perhaps a fortnightly basis,

we have for the last 2 years had a short camping holiday in france, and plan to continue this. i am not sure about sending SB on an en famille camp, but may host.

We perhaps need to work a bit more regularly at latin. this is done on a fortnightly basis, but possibly a look in between times would be useful!

music :-

piano is probably SB’s favourite, and we will encourage regular practice
recorder is also practiced, and am hoping SB can attend a local venue regularly enough for Gina to continue teaching

i have some first duet books to add a bit of a difference with our playing, and hope to regularly write group music for SB and friends to a level they are comfortable with.

we will also do lots of singing, and listen to a wide range of music – i don’t think we have enough background music on in the house, and since we have so much…

At some point, we may possibly add a bit of composer study, should SB show inclination or interest.

for the out and about WOW factor, SB has really enjoyed holiday orchestra, doing singing, musical games and recorder, and is v keen to do again. there are a number of events nearly locally that she can participate in.

i also want us to start going out to more concerts. BB is def not interested, and i think for sb too they would still have to be short, but she did enjoy the LSO


is covered well at the moment, and we will continue to encourage a core sports practice and trying out all sorts of new ideas.

current activities are ballet, gym, swimming and judo on a weekly basis
She also goes to a variety of HE group sports as and when they happen.

she still like to at least try horse riding, and see if she enjoys it.

more ad hoc are yoga and dance videos [which i should do too!!], and perhaps finding someone to get her started with in line skating. half term and holiday leisure centre taster events also popular


surprisingly, this is an area which we are not using much at the moment. SB prefers reading and playing to IT. our computers did break, which was prob v unhelpful, and we have not got back into using them. perhaps a few new and interesting cdroms will kickstart.

Arts and crafts:

we do a fair amount of art and crafting, using fimo and hama beads, kits and paints in a freestyle way

I would like to add in some art appreciation, look at different artists and styles, and ‘have a go’ now SB is getting more confident in painting

SB periodically is interested in tuesday sketch, so I might encourage this as well

Domestic Science!!:

slight rofl at title, but a fair bit of baking and cooking, gardening, some tidying and laying the table. SHe is interested in sewing and knitting too, so it is just about making sure the basics are available and accessible for her to do when the mood strikes, or re-introducing if there has been a gap.

personal development

we will think about supporting her through the hormones and body changes to come, taking advice from people that have been there before! getting good books, and hopefully building on the groundwork of loving family and good friends to give her confidence in who she is.


regular attendance at not quite local groups, local clubs [ie rainbows], national camps and making sure we have a steady stream of houseguests.

family is also very important, and maintaining close family ties and bonds.

trips and outings:

i think we should be a bit more proactive now BB more amenable to going out and about to places for experiential learning opportunities. this would add a bit of sparkle and pizazz to the whole thing, add external excitement for looking at some things, and generally be fun for all.


we have lots of resources and opportunities, i think in the next 2 years we parents have to hone our presentation skills, storage solutions etc, so that they are all readily accessible for SB to find . i think we need a ruthless look at groups that work or not for SB, and keep an eye on the opportunities to play and socialise.

If we actually did achieve what i have listed above, i would be a very happy bunny! The devil is in the implementation! life gets in the way etc etc, but i think we really must try.

obviously we do a lot of ed by conversation and seeing where that goes – sometimes quite tricky, so the other thing is to make sure that we are available , enthusiastic partners in the educational process.

this is a boring bare bones thought. chris needs to look, add and ponder. it is harder to really look at this in any more detail, as SB really will become more and more the driving force for her education, depending on her interest. I think for me, it is enough to know that i think we have resources and information and enthusiasm to back her up, but also to at this stage continue to encourage and lead and offer where necessary. by 9, i would hope that for the most part she will be autonomous and enthused about continuing to learn and find out. That we will have facilitated her spending ages on minutiae, and whipping through huge subjects in nano seconds where less interesting to her.

an answer from the dcsf

Dear Ms [!! and my surname]

Thank you for your email of 26 January regarding the review of Home
Education. I have been asked to reply.

With regards to the review of home education, it may be helpful if I
explain that we are committed to ensuring that systems for keeping
children safe, and ensuring that they receive a suitable education, are
as robust as possible. We have been progressively strengthening the
systems and it is good practice to ensure that they are operating as
intended. An independent review of home education is part of this
continuing commitment to strengthening the system and to ensure all
children achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes.

The guidelines on home education that we issued last year have not
resolved the concerns of some LAs about their ability to fulfil their
responsibilities in relation to home educated children. The recent
public consultation suggested that many people – home educating parents
and local authorities included – feel the guidelines and legislation are
confusing and sometimes perhaps at odds with each other. We know there
is an issue now and it is right that we identify any barriers -
perceived or real – to children’s entitlement to achieve the five
outcomes. We will take whatever action is necessary to strengthen the

I note the concerns you have surrounding the shorter consultation, the
Review of Home Education is being led by Graham Badman, former Director
of Children’s Services at Kent County Council. Mr Badman has decided
that he wants his review to be informed by material from a wide range of
stakeholders, so he decided to offer the opportunity for organisations
and individuals to contribute to the review by filling in a

The new Code of Practice on Consultation issued by BERR says that:

‘…a formal, written, public consultation will not be the most
effective or proportionate way of seeking input from interested parties
eg when engaging stakeholders very early in policy development
(preceding formal consultation) ……In such cases an exercise under
this Code would not be appropriate. There is, moreover, a variety of
other ways available to seek input from interested parties other than a
formal consultation’

Once the Review is complete it will be presented to Ministers who will
then decide whether or not to take forward any of the recommendations.
We anticipate that any Review recommendations that trigger proposals to
change the law or guidance would be subject to a full public

With regards to the consultation only being available on the internet,
experience of other reviews suggests that this approach is an effective
way of collecting information from the public in a relatively short
period of time. We know that the home education community uses this
method extensively in their contact with the Government.

You mention that in the questionnaire, it is suggested that home
educated children are abused, we know this is not necessarily the case
and that most home educated children are neither abused nor neglected.
However, parents who abuse or neglect their children will find it easier
to conceal this if they say they are educating their child at home as
they will not be seen regularly by a teacher or other professional. This
means that LAs do not have the same level of assurance about the welfare
of children being educated at home, and there is a greater risk that the
warning signs of abuse of a child not in school will not be picked up at
an early stage.

We are aware of allegations and concerns in this area but we want to
establish what evidence is available. This is not just about that
whether or not home education is currently used to cover child abuse,
but also about ensuring that proportionate measures are in place to
prevent it being used in future as a cover for neglect, forced marriage,
or other forms of child abuse.

I would like to assure you we are not singling out home educating
families. Every child – whether home or school educated, is entitled to
the five Every Child Matters outcomes. We need to ensure that home
educated children are able to achieve the five outcomes, just as
children in maintained schools do. The Department has recently announced
a review of safeguarding in independent schools, non maintained special
schools and boarding schools. The circumstances of a child educated at
home are different from those educated at school and we need to be sure
that the systems and procedures that are in place to protect these
children are fit for purpose.

Government has also commissioned reviews of Local Safeguarding Children
Boards and Serious Case Reviews. These reviews are part of our ongoing
commitment to ensure that all children are safe and well.

i hope you find this informative.

Yours sincerely

[deleted by me]
Public Communications Unit

so very happy to have a response. interesting to see how many identical ones, as it didn’t cover the points as i raised them. but, TBH, i woudl do a mass email response too if I were them

that DCSF consultation! a first draft

yes, that one. actually this is the second as i have added 3 and 4! but changing the title would prob change various links oops now the third! as have sort of finished, but would really like feedback before i submit, much nearer to the deadline!

i admit that my response isn’t finished or filed yet, that other peoples blogs have v much influenced me, but here goes!!

1 Do you think the current system for safeguarding children who are educated at home is adequate? Please let us know why you think that.



There is no evidence to show that children educated at home are at increased risk of abuse of any kind. in fact, due to the lack of evidence of child abuse publicised in the population subset it may be that they are less at risk. i am presuming that the question is indeed referring to those educated at home rather than those ‘missing in education’.

Like other children they access healthcare providers, community facilities and have families, neighbours and friends, all of whom would be able to access the standard child protection facilities. i cannot see how this would work more or less successfully in the home educated population than it does in the schooled population [where there seems to be woeful under-reporting]

Is this new ‘rushed’ consultation the government response to the consultation that suggested no further inspection powers to be granted for LA’s? from reading the guidance, this does seem to be the premise. Again it seems that there is some muddling of thought between educational provision and child protection. the LEA has provision to investigate if it is felt that there is no evidence of home education provision. even should they investigate, this does not act to safeguard children at home. Are you instead suggesting that all home educators should be regularly visited by social workers? when social workers are already overloaded with cases that potentially have some basis, adding a huge layer of extra work in a population group that has not been evidenced to be of high risk does not sound reasonable. if you are suggesting all home educators are visited for a ‘safe and well’ assessment, is this not targeting the population group unreasonably?

I agree with the Government definition of bullying as:

‘Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally’.

I also find helpful the following clarification by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which states that bullying mostly falls into two categories:

* emotionally harmful behaviour, such as taunting, spreading hurtful rumours and excluding people from groups; and
* physically harmful behaviour, such as kicking, hitting, pushing, or other forms of physical abuse.

The following three conditions are used to define incidences of harmful interpersonal behaviour as bullying behaviour. Behaviour is bullying behaviour if:

* it is repetitive, wilful or persistent;
* it is intentionally harmful, carried out by an individual or group; and,
* there is an imbalance of power leaving the person who is bullied feeling defenceless.

It crosses my mind that these repeated consultations are a form of government intimidation and bullying. with wilful and persistent spreading of rumours against the home education population, suggesting that the parents within that group abuse their children, are not educating their children, with a clear imbalance of power, leaving home educators feeling defenceless.

2 a) Do you think that home educated children are able to achieve the following five Every Child Matters outcomes? Please let us know why you think that.

2 a)

Be healthy



i am not sure why the 5 have been separated. I see no difficulty for any home educator in aiming to achieve these

The aim is for all children and young people to achieve the five outcomes of Every Child Matters, that is to:

* be healthy;
* stay safe;
* enjoy life and achieve their full potential;
* be interested and fully involved in the community they live in;
* achieve economic independence.

In particular, children and young people should expect to:

* be able to grow and develop in safety and free from prejudice and discrimination;
* be listened to and have their views taken into account;
* be treated with respect;
* belong to and be valued in their community;
* see their needs and interests at the heart of everything we all do.

in fact for many of them i would imagine it would be easier to turn the aiming into a reality.

However, in the be healthy, like in any population subgroup this is an aspiration rather than a 100% achievable goal, children may have illness, disease, accidents in this group as in any other. however, in a home educated environment, many children may find it easier to achieve their full potential despite illness that would cause difficulty in a larger group setting
2 b)

Stay safe


Comments: I think this is palpably easier to achieve in the home educated setting, where the child’s abilities and freedoms are scaffolded by the parent, where there are less opportunities for being bullied, for having undesirable interactions with peers that may involve physical, sexual or mental aggression [as evidenced by a number of surveys]

2 c)

Enjoy and achieve


home education is a more direct, interactive and child focused method of education, whether it be of a ‘home school’ type, following a curriculum [even if not the rather dire national curriculum] , a child led or autonomous approach, or the many shades in between including Montessori, Charlotte Mason etc styles. This leads to a clear feedback between child and parent on interest, on the speed and depth which might suit each child individually. This means that the child is far more likely to enjoy their education, as it is tailored to them personally, with varying levels of child/parent involvement as suits the individual and the family. It is clear that not only do children learn at different speeds, but they learn in different ways at different times, and home education, is ideally placed to follow these patterns.
research has suggested that autonomous education is indeed a very efficient learning method.
I would suggest that home education has the ability here to outperform other educational establishments.
I also think that in looking at this question, perhaps the government is ignoring the ability of home education families to be flexible in their resourcing, using open university, online course, colleges, tutors etc to provide as high an educational rigour as many schools do for examination subjects as required.

ultimately, i think that home educated children have a higher likelihood of being able to ‘enjoy life and achieve their full potential’ due to the freedom and ability they have to influence daily the education and knowledge they learn.

2 d)

Make a positive contribution.



i think this is a very poorly thought out aim. A positive contribution to what? Society, community, family, scientific theory? or just…
it seems that really the 4th aim is
‘be interested and fully involved in the community they live in’
and I believe that home education is ideally tailored to this, as the child to adult is fully participating in the community from early on.

2 e)

Achieve economic well-being



I think that any home educated child is as likely if not more so to ‘achieve economic independence’ as a school educated child. this is because as the child progresses into their teens, then part of the process is considering interests, and moving forwards. Skills suitable to ability and aptitude are developed.

I notice no great mention is made of the subsidiary aims
* be able to grow and develop in safety and free from prejudice and discrimination;
* be listened to and have their views taken into account;
* be treated with respect;
* belong to and be valued in their community;
* see their needs and interests at the heart of everything we all do.
which again I would say are probably at the heart of every families educational philosophy on how to proceed. I sincerely wonder how these aims can even be begun to be achieved in large schools with huge class sizes of disparate educational goals, abilities and aptitudes.

3. Do you think that Government and local authorities have an obligation to ensure that all children in this country are able to achieve the five outcomes? If you answered yes, how do you think Government should ensure this?. If you answered no, why do you think that?



from reading around the admirable every child matters documentation, it is clear that these targets are an aspirational goal, for LA’s to put systems in place that can work towards helping children achieve these goals. there is no outcome framework attached with 100% targets. They are in fact ambitions, not backed by legislative force, and certainly couldn’t be achieved to 100% within the schooled population who you seem to believe are more adequately monitored.

4. Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for supporting home educating families? If you answered yes, what should they be? If you answered no, why do you think that?



I don’t actually see that the home educated community is supported in any way at the present. If you actuallyy wish to support home education, rather than vilifying and deriding, there are some simple and low cost options:
the provision of free meeting rooms for group home education meetings
the provision of places to sit free of charge examinations as external candidates – such as GCSE etc, and possibly the availability of free Open university courses.
suitable training and resourcing of any liaison personnel with home educators, such that they are not extrapolating school to school at home, but have a broad ranging understanding of the different methods of home education and can encourage the diversity without bias.
free access to school resources through local libraries would also be much appreciated.

5. Do you think there should be any changes made to the current system for monitoring home educating families? If you answered yes, what should they be? If you answered no, why do you think that?



I believe that the law as represented in the Elective Home Education Guidelines 2007 is appropriate for monitoring educational provision. This appeared to be the outcome from previous exhaustive consultations. please see guidelines at and the follow up consultation on implementation, both of which I responded to. Suggesting that a single question in a further consultation might negate the previous consultation does not appear valid.

I also feel that having a separate much larger consultation for LA’s/professionals only rather than all stakeholders running concurrently seems designed to purposefully introduce bias towards the governments agenda and hoped for outcomes.

The law needs to respect the balance between citizen and the state. Local authorities must respect the law, understand where they genuinely have duties and where they don’t and not overstep these duties

6. Some people have expressed concern that home education could be used as a cover for child abuse, forced marriage, domestic servitude or other forms of child neglect. What do you think Government should do to ensure this does not happen?


I would like to see the evidence behind this. it appears that the NSPCC itself holds no evidence for this. i find, in the absence of any references given, this to be a defamatory statement [In law, defamation (also called calumny, libel, slander, and vilification) is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image] and feel that this should be immediately retracted.

Introducing compulsory checks for all home educating families will be a waste of valuable and limited resources, is highly unlikely to turn up the needle in the haystack and would be an abuse of civil rights and human rights, in contravention of Article 8 of the ECHR. Should this be introduced, the logical extension is for all children not receiving external childcare, and this would include those of pre-school age who do not attend nursery or alternative external to home placements.

I would like to reiterate that like other children, those home educated access healthcare providers, community facilities and have families, neighbours and friends, all of whom would be able to access the standard child protection facilities. In all the high profile child protection stories in the newspapers, there have been multiple flags from a variety of professionals including doctors and social services already involved. It does not appear that the presence [or absence in the case of some withdrawn] of schooling has been a deciding or flagging factor in raising the alarm of abuse.

I would again like to state that these repeated consultations are a form of government intimidation and bullying. There appears to be wilful and persistent spreading of rumours and slander against the home education population without corroborative evidence, suggesting that the parents within that group abuse their children or are not educating their children or looking towards their wider welfare. there is a clear imbalance of power towards the government, leaving home educators feeling defenceless and bullied.

I will be including this in a complaint to the Select Committee for Children Schools and Families [] and also to my MP

hmmm comments please so i can improve on this. i really am quite crap at consultation writing! i got a bit bored towards the end, so have stopped there for now!

Home ed thoughts for the year

I looked at my mission statement, and with relief saw that it was valid till 2010 :lol:
obviously some things change! Not the basic philosophy, but how we are approaching the nitty gritty section!
literacy: SB has declared the galore park junior english OK, so that will start us with looking at the breakdown of how ‘english works’ as we have seen she now has a requirement for learning sentence structure and names. She also is enjoying the wizard whimstaff spelling workbooks, so we will continue with these. we do less getty and dubay at the moment because of the above.
maths we are on 3a and also reading books involving maths storylines. she is finding it all easy at the moment, so i hope to do some with her and perhaps push on a bit.
history is unchanged really, with SOTW as the core [and we are half way through as predicted, as we take 2 rather than 1 year per book], and reading story books and interesting fact books. we all enjoy the reading, but i should make an effort to do more associated activities. when we did this with the vikings, we all really enjoyed it. just remembered that when she is 8 she can join the young archaeologists, so will look into this.
critical thinking and logic is by games playing, both board games and ds, with sudoku and easy kakuro too.
science is having some more formal time with the latinetc group on alternate wednesdays, which is all good fun. i don’t really think anything much there has changed. our new microscope is exciting!! oh, MUST try and sort out astronomy group, and Sarah [bless her] as given me her old science club kits now she isn’t HE-ing, that i use in the latinetc group [thnx]
geography we haven’t really got to grips with except as an adjunct to history or following NORAD tracks santa! will ponder how to usefully put in!
I am encouraged by our success really with languages, it seems that our story book plus some add on actiivities are really working for us. I’m not saying that either of the girls are having a conversation in french, just that i can see we are slowly acquiring the language in a fun way – if possibly not the most efficient! latinetc and a bit of practice inbetween is fun too.
I am a bit discouraged in our music. SB stopping the violin was a bit of a blow, but i have said we are child led, so… piano continues as does music theory. we should do more practice though for piano and recorder. a friend around the blogline reminded me about ambleside online, and perhaps we should look at its composer study
we lost drama, though did do a drama activity week. if it ever fits in again, it will be added. PE activities fine – gym has commenced and is loved, though horseriding still outstanding! SInce BB also has a bike. we should add some family biking.
arts and crafts have been done, and SB won a village painting competition with much pride. but now thinking of perhaps working in some technique! i have books about paintings, about painters and about how too, so hopefully this will be good for us!
domestic science [rofl] is fine. we sew more, and are considering a sewing project to make a needle case at the moment. perhaps starting to cook savour food – ie dinners – is a starting point now.
socialising took a bit of a hit with her broken foot and then emotional wobbles, but i think it has been enough that she is a happy girl. i aim to get my weekends out to see who wants to visit as soon as i have my work rota. i think this is something we will always need to be proactive with. we have a group holiday in both jan and feb to look forward too, however. from the HE groups, it appears that there may be a possible monday group after the sports to go too – and other weeks if wanted, and alt week thurs group attendance works out OK – it is available weekly. with the alt wed latinetc and monthlyish city 2 group, that is a fair group commitment!
with my sisters breast cancer diagnosis last year, chris’s uncles bowel cancer that has been resistant to chemo and inoperable, and the news before christmas that little nanny’s breast cancer has spread and that we should take what time we have, we have also been working hard to see and visit relatives we love, not taking the time for granted.
we have started off on some trips out and about, and as BB gets more and more out of them, we will increase them. certainly SB has loved them, as have we.

So there you go, our mid term gap analysis if you will!! we need to something about geography – [i still think geocaching mapreading and some good games would do the trick - we just need to do them], jiggle things a bit with music [ie practice more and see if we can do basic group stuff more and perhaps the ambleside online] and art [which we have the wherewithal to do - doing some technique stuff gently] and increase the socialisation and out and abouting which we all enjoy. we have been surprised and happy with our languages, and continue to be happy with maths, literacy and science – we enjoy this and find it easy and fun. don’t plan to change much there, except perhaps gently encourage more regular ‘work’ – a bit like merry’s normals perhaps – to speed through the maths a bit. history chugs along, we all like it, but don’t have the passion of other HE we know, but i think adding more practical things in and related trips would really lift it.

so not bad, i guess.

oh, and no, there is no mission statement yet for BB – she’s not the age of compulsary education!

outstanding parental tasks :lol:
1. arrange some horseriding!
2. RSPB badge scheme thingies as a fun thing to do or perhaps nature detectives club [thnx jax]
3. geocaching
4. organise diary for visiting family and friends
5. arrange trips out and about!
6. tidy the craft stuff so accessible [at least the science stuff done]
7. check resources on ambleside online wrt composer study +/- artists [thnx kirsty]
8. Astronomy group
9. young archaeologists
10. hmm, consider science equipment needs, and kirsty – unhelpfully – linked to what look to me fab books

thinks: OMG that’s rather a lot on the to do list!

back at work

but while i was out, chris has done a fab job with tidying up the house. the girls have played alot with their castle, and i managed to pick up a quick bargain at tescos – a coffee table to play games on! our front room being the warmest at night due to fire] and dining room coldest [due to radiators on minimal] playing games in these christmas nights has been a chilly affair. £7 later and we are all set!!

on coming home from work we read a french book altogether, and SB and i did a bit of story of the world together – crusaders. we also read our come look with me book on modern art , Exploring Modern Art (Come Look with Me) , together [sb partic fond of modern art] And this fitted in well with the Matisse: The King of Color (Anholt’s Artists Books for Children Series) book bb got for xmas, and both have enjoyed reading. this year i am fired up with enthusiasm for art! i am also tempted by the following books, Artrageous (Klutz) , Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered (Klutz) , and Mark Kistler’s Draw Squad . I think i am def going to get this one, Watercolour (Klutz) , and was wondering if any of the latinetc bunch also liked it?? cos it could be done in the french immersion session, but it would need one book each…

anyway! after that i played some build a beetle with BB – her rules, and fell asleep! [only a short while, but when i woke up chris had the girls in the bath!! and then some puerto rico with SB. it isn’t really playable as 2 player properly, but it gives us both a brush up on the rules etc.

latest consultation. a poor response as done in a hurry

but at least i actually did it. has to be done by friday. Based on your experience of local authorities implementing this duty since it was introduced in 2007, does the guidance make clear the actions which local authorities are expected to take to help them comply with the duty?

 Not Checked Yes

Checked No

 Not Checked Not Sure

 Not Checked No Response


i think that it poorly differentiates on risk as it has an inherent presumption that if at school there is a suitable education, whilst if at home, they are missing out. the recently published list of schools where less than 30% achieve what seems to be a very minimal goal at GCSE shows that schooling is not necessarily OK.
however, if the schools are judged that this level of attainment is suitable to the age ability and aptitude of its pupil range, no higher goal should be set for home-educators.
i don’t believe that the more than 1 let alone 2 standard deviations from mean in the school system are probably having a suitable education. i know many teachers who say previous children who would have been at special schools and had better provision for SEN are now mixed with children and can be v disrupted, as can those that are gifted and talented, often through boredom. this suggests to me a personalised HE route is best for my children. i do not believe an inspector or LA is a better judge of my childs abilities than myself.
i think that parents and children opting for their right to maintain their responsibility for education, rather than devolve this to the LA, should have the responsibility of judging it and their provision. interference from EWO and sometimes SS and others on an every child matters without grounds for concern borders on harrassment.
i do, however, have no objection to informing in the broadest outline the LA of my philosphy and educational goals in writing.

2 Does the guidance make clear the role that implementation of this duty has in the wider programme of work led by local authorities to improve outcomes for children and young people, including promoting their safety and well-being?

 Not Checked Yes

Checked No

 Not Checked Not Sure

 Not Checked No Response


i think this guidance is very confusing. it confuses education with wellbeing, and then assumes that school attendence is reassuring, whereas home education is not. The cast majority of children at risk are schooled. i am not saying that there is no risk in a home educated child, but i have seen no data to suggest the risk is higher.

3 Does the guidance accurately describe the range of circumstances that put children’s safety at risk and puts them at risk of not receiving a suitable education?

 Not Checked Yes

Checked No

 Not Checked Not Sure

 Not Checked No Response


the issue of educational status at school or home is again being confused with child safety. I resent being considered high risk in this aspect, and would like to see a full open risk assessment rather than presumption. there are other more clear indicators of child risk – failure to attend for vaccination/ dentist and also increased hospital attendance that are far more indicative.
home education per se is not a risk

4 Does the guidance show effectively what steps local authorities should take when children are living in difficult circumstances that put them at more risk of not receiving a suitable education?


i am actually very amazed to find that home education is in a category of difficult circumstances! i think this automatically prejudices against home education and home educating families with no reasonable evidence behind it.
It is again confusing the choice of home education with child welfare

5 What are the key challenges local authorities could face to implementing these guidelines effectively?


parents have a right to home educate and provide an education suitable to the childs age ability and aptitudes and the community in which it will live. the previous consultation in light touch changes to monitoring HE concurred that HE investigations should only be saught if there is no evidence of education provision, and this can be given in written form, and no legal right to home visitation. this guidance appears to be in direct contrast to this. this will cause confusion as it seems that HE does not need a home visit to monitor the educational provision, but instead to monitor child welfare. this seems to be openly discrimnatory based on education choices.

6 Does the guidance make clear the duties and powers that local authorities have in relation to home educated children when parents are not providing them with a suitable education?

 Not Checked Yes

Checked No

 Not Checked Not Sure

 Not Checked No Response


it complicates the issue. section 347 of the education act 1996 is already available to be used. this appears to be a prejudicial against home education guidance to try and increase LA powers through an alternative route.

7 Does the guidance contain all the ‘signposts’ to other relevant guidance; sources of support and advice for local authorities that will enable them to implement this duty effectively?

 Not Checked Yes

Checked No

 Not Checked Not Sure

 Not Checked No Response


it appears to contradict the guidelines on elective home education even whilst pointing to them

8 Beyond the publication of the guidance, what would be the most effective means of communicating the importance of implementing the new duty, and the processes that will help its implementation, to professionals working with children?


I would hope this guidance is significantly revised prior to publication

9 Have you any details of good practice that would be useful to include in the final version of the ‘guidance’?

 Not Checked Yes

Checked No

 Not Checked No Response


ongoing dialogue with LA’s in response to the guidelines on elective home education may well in the future lead to details of good practice, and CHEF and the cambridgeshire LA are working towards a jointly amicable working relationship. these new guidelines will cause significant muddying of waters that have only recently become clear.

10 Did you find the draft guidance clear, unambiguous and easy to follow?

 Not Checked Yes

Checked No

 Not Checked Not Sure

 Not Checked No Response


it is tortuous and contradictory.

11 a) We have developed standard data definitions at Appendix 1 of the guidance.  These were developed in consultation with several local authorities.  Do you agree with these definitions?

 Not Checked Agree

Checked Disagree

 Not Checked Not sure

 Not Checked No Response


if it is to include home education as its remit, this should have been developed with relevant stakeholders – ie Home educators and the various home educating groups that seek to campaign and inform

11 b) If not, what amendments would you suggest and why?


i think it should start again, using the stakeholder groups from the beginning

i should be doing my tax return!

but i hate doing the buggers, can’t use their website – i used it when first set up, forgot password, and somehow can’t be re-entered… and i have never filled out the self emplyed bit before, and it has all sorts of questions i can’t answer! i earnt about £1500 self employed over a year, and spent about £800. but the form has all sorts of weird bits in it!!

so i’ll blog instead. got up late, girls watching monsters inc, had shower [took ages to brush hair], did violin practice with SB – haven’t practiced for ages so lots of wails and gnashing of teeth there. read some books with BB, then lunch, and both girls did some maths and SB handwriting whilst BB did some french story with me. SB then did french conversation. i realsied what she actually got upset with on wed [or so she says] is that she couldn’t spell to write car experiment on the paper and thought j and chloe would laugh at her. no idea why, and chloe had j spell experiment for her. i will print it next time though. She does have entirely dire spelling though, and absolutely no way of working it out. since her reading is so fab, i am a bit of a loss as to why she can’t spell car… but we will make an effort to do diolch words spellings, as we let them slide a bit. i’m not overwhelmed by the fact her spelling is so bad if it doesn’t bother her, but if its going to make her wail and be miserable, then she has to learn!!

lots of running abour wildy, playing with kids k’nex and bb doing counting buddy blocks with the maths manipulatives and they wanted to go out roller skating. we got about 20 m and had to return for a wee stop :roll: but the next attempt far more successful. beautiful day for it too, and the churchyard has lots of slopy pavements to practice on. also a bit of gravestone investigation as well. should have taken the camera, as the light on the church was gorgeous, oh well! its not as if we don’t have a few photos tucked away!

returned when girls worn out, snuggled and read books – including a bit of SOTW as we have slipped a bit in it – it only takes a few seconds, but somehow… and a quickie recorder practice as well. watched a quite dire spanish lyrical video – bought ages and ages ago. but girls liked it, so i face booked!! yummy tea, and then bedtime. i am enjoying the pirates of pompeii reading to sb at the mo, and she read me some arthur in return.

PS, i am bolding again. i really miss it when i don’t do it!
:smile: oh, and BB bought me flowers :smile: