Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Another day another local gun incident. 

Bad guys still got guns.

Police have begun an investigation after several shots were fired between two cars in Birmingham.

A group of men in a stolen Toyota Lexus opened fire on a Volkswagen Golf in Winson Green on Monday afternoon, although no-one was hurt.

The Lexus was later found abandoned in Smethwick.

A police spokeswoman said they were speaking to the men who were in the Volkswagen and were also appealing for any witnesses to get in touch.

These incidents don't even make the front pages of the 'local' news now because they are so common.
Noted at 12:18 PM. |

Chat rooms shutdown. 

I was searching around for an excuse to post up a glamourous woman pic this morning when Carol Vorderman came to my rescue. She appeared on GMTV congratulating Microsoft for closing down all it's unmoderated chatrooms in line with recommendations from a government thinktank that she is a member of.

Now, I like our Carol but she is completely wrong on this one. This is like closing down the M4 (motorway) because there are bad people in London and children might be able to get on a bus and see them. The future is going to be highly connected and the way to deal with this is to educate, not to ban, block or otherwise censor.

Samizdata comments on this.

Noted at 9:10 AM. |

Birmingham views - Lickey Hills 

Want to go and see where we spend many a sunny day? Well now you can. Eldest keeps free climbing that little castle whilst I stand there with my heart in my throat.
Noted at 7:20 AM. |

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Lileks imprisons daughter 

Now I know James Lileks is a highly respected blogger but did he really write this?

Gnat was a pill today, but that's okay. She's ill. Small cold. The medicine makes her space out, and when it wears off she's just Miss Peevy 2003. Everything was a battle tonight: sitting in the chair, eating the corn, sampling the beans, saying "may I be excused" before she dismounts from her chair, getting into the bath, getting out of the bath, giving up her Spot (from Rolie Poly Olie, of course) plush doll so he can be dried out, getting into her jammies. I am always the Heavy here. When discipline is required, Daddy is enlisted. Why? I have the deep voice, and I have the will. I am careful to explain why she is being naughty; I always express my understanding of her position, but I am firm: this will not stand. Comply, or at the count of three you're locked in your room.

It's a microcosm of international events, really. She tests me: when first I introduce the possibility of consequences, she pretends to agree. But she doesn't comply. When I make a motion to enforce my decision, she complies - but it's always a dilatory effort. And this results in Stage Three, where I live up to my word. I hate doing that. I hate taking her up to her room and shutting the door; the cries of "I'll be good!" or "you're not my friend any more!" are like picador spears. But it has to be done.

So to the world Mr. Lileks says "I lock my sick three year old daughter who's on medication in her room if she bugs me."

Well I say to Mr. Lileks "Step over here and feel the full force of the HEHD's retribution. Come and pick on someone your own size mate. Not only are you a f*****g idiot for writing it but you are a f*****g idiot for doing it."

The amazing thing is that this guy obviously thinks that this behaviour is so normal that he can happily write about it and not expect anyone to take umbrage.

"Lileks - NO!"

Next time you are grouchy, lock yourself in your room, in the dark and pass the key under the door. Then 'instruct' your wife to not let you out no matter how hard you scream or beg. Then when you start to really worry perhaps you might understand what you are doing to your own flesh and blood. Fool.

Other people agree:
Disappointed in Lileks
Noted at 10:52 PM. |

Home Education Highlights 

When the next door neighbour's kids tell their mum thay want to be home educated too.

Watching the parents squirm....Priceless!
Noted at 10:08 PM. |

Miss North Dakota 

According to Tammy, Miss North Dakota was home educated, and who am I to argue with her. There was a great picture of Miss Schelkoph in her swimsuit but it was copyrighted so I can't really post it here - shame!

She didn't win Miss America but that doesn't really matter. Does it? She's a pretty girl, she'll do alright. (Just joshing girls!)
Noted at 9:30 PM. |

Chris Woodhead converts? 

The evil demon of education Chris Woodhead seems to have undergone something of an epiphany. He actually recomends home education to two readers of last Sunday's Times.


Sadly, you find yourselves in the position of many parents. You have no alternative — other than to educate your children at home.

Noted at 8:39 PM. |

Home Schooling Sites 

I was just meandering across the web looking for sites to link to with a home education bent and was amazed at all the new blogs that have sprung up since I last blogged. I was just thinking about how I would be able to keep my blog roll manageable when I realised that I wouldn't be linking to any of the ones I found. The reason for this is that I have very little in common with any of them.

I kept reading about how 'God helps us to homeschool', how 'good our curriculum is', how 'children need structure and discipline' and how 'Jimmy won the spelling bee this year'.

Our reason for home education is because we believe that the children should be learning at THEIR own pace, the things the THEY want to learn, with us only operating as guides, not drill instructors.

Anybody else out there?
Noted at 7:53 PM. |

Local Gun News 

Father held at gunpoint whilst wife and two children are upstairs.

I am still waiting to report on the case of the citizen under attack who kills the assailants using the legally held gun in his own home.

Oh no, silly me this is the UK where every armed gang knows that they can break into any house ad infinitum knowing full well that the occupants will be defenceless and the police will never come.
Noted at 7:15 PM. |


I have just added a link to this site, at the very polite request of it's owner. Today's blog has comments regarding "appropriate play":

Getting ready to launch into a discussion about why "killing" play is unacceptable I got thrown a curve that I was completely surprised by (I was expecting another fast ball) but in the bible people kill one another. I know this is not an unusual connection for children to make (but I was surprised by my four year old) and I was in some ways prepared for it. I talked a bit about sin and how that can lead to people making poor choices that go against God's will. Then she threw a knuckleball that just took me off guard. Well what about David? Was he wrong? Didn't God help him kill Goliath? Was he going against God's will. I just thought to myself "Why do I find myself answering this question for a four year old? How did she learn to make those connections and realize the inconsistencies so quickly. The next thought was "I am in TROUBLE when she is a teenager" and the last thought was "HELP". So I called in Serona and we dealt with the issue together. I'm not sure she was satisfied with the answer or completely understood it but I think we were able to explain to her some of the concepts of sin, free will, fantasy and reality, acceptable and unacceptable play, and how play can still hurt people's feelings.

Now a personal opinion here. (What, you HEHD) This is all a load of absolute tosh. The idea that my boys are likely to be more violent because I let them play with guns and swords is ridiculous. The notion that because they 'kill' each other and friends regularly means they are more likely to disrespect people in real life is absolute drivel.

Tenn, the reason you struggled with your four year old in this discussion is because they realise something that you don't; Sometimes there is only one final option when faced with evil, kill it.

David killed Goliath because he had too, just as the good guys kill the bad guys in Star Wars etc. Perhaps one day a big bad guy is going to be threatening you, your kids or your friends and you better wish that your youngest fully understands that they are going to have to defend themselves and their loved ones because that bad guy sure aint going to be listening to a reasoned argument, religious or otherwise.

The gun, the sword, the kitchen knife, the hammer or whatever is the weapon of choice is not, in itself evil. The evil is within the person utilising that tool to attack for evil means. Just as the goodness lies within the person who uses it to defend themselves or their loved ones from that attack.

Ooooh, get me!
Noted at 6:59 PM. |

Old muckers. 

An old mucker of mine rang me today and he is always slightly quizzical about this autonomous learning thing. During our conversation I mentioned that the kids were learning from life.

"Oh that's OK then" he replied.

"What do you mean" said I.

"Well there aren't many people who have had a more 'interesting' life than you. So you are probably going to be teaching them more than anyone else could."

There was a hint of irony in his voice. What could he mean!
Noted at 6:15 PM. |

Home school blogging 

When you want to start a blog with any relevence to home education you encounter one huge problem, Daryl Cobranchi.

Daryl's site "Home School and Other Education Stuff" is just so full of links and information that any mere mortal (Like myself) just cannot compete. It is a daily "must read" for anybody who has any interest in this movement of ours. So I am not even going to attempt to convince you that I can do as good a job.

Go read Daryl first and if you have any time left afterwards come back here. It is a much more efficient use of your time!
Noted at 6:03 PM. |

ID cards, cameras, car tracking etc. 

One of the most common arguments from the pro surveillance lobby is "If you are a law abiding person you have nothing to fear".

In this article Natalie Solent debunks this idea very simply, by giving examples of law abiding citizens who most definitely would have something to fear.

You could be one of them!
Noted at 5:04 PM. |

Monday, September 22, 2003

One brave woman. 

This 63 year old woman bravely gave evidence against this knife wielding thug who cut her when robbing a post office. The thug got 12 1/2 years which is only about a quarter of a fair sentence.

I admire your courage Mrs. Wilson!
Noted at 8:37 PM. |

Home Dad 

Now that I am blogging again I think I should be making more effort to get in touch with other housedads online. This is as good a place to start as any.
Noted at 12:52 PM. |

Mrs. du Toit - Finding Mark Twain Series 

Yesterday I put a link to this essay on the Education Otherwise mailing list. It is a great story of one family's journey from mainstream education through 'home schooling' and on to unschooling / autonomous education. It is both touching and inspiring to anyone who has any interest in home education.

I received my next digest version of the mailing list this morning expecting to see lots of comments from people who followed the link and read the essay. I love reading comments and opinions from other home edders just to help me with my 'bearings' as we are still relatively new to this.


Now, I don't know how many people visited the site and just didn't comment but I am nevertheless gobsmacked. Most new home educators are filled with doubts when they start and this essay puts out just the kind of reassuring message necessary in a world where ignorance and skepticism about HE is rife.

It must just be me but I find the fact that nobody on a well populated HE mailing list thought the essay worth the slightest comment very disconcerting.
Noted at 11:59 AM. |

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Globalisation is good. 

Just sat down to watch the telly tonight and almost had a heart attack. Channel 4 broadcast a programme where the presenter travelled to various areas of the world extolling the virtues of globalisation. That presenter was Johan Norburg. What a fantastic breathe of fresh air!

This guy will go far. I am going to read him.

Well done Channel 4.
Noted at 10:22 PM. |

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Girl Wants To Start Caucasian Club At High School 

Now this is an interesting one as I am sure we are going to start seeing alot more of this kind of thing.

McClelland's ethnic background includes American Indian, Hispanic, Dutch, German, Italian and Irish. She says she and her friends feel slighted by other clubs at Freedom High School in Oakley, such as the Black Student Union and the Asian Club.

More interestingly NBC are running a poll on their site about this and 86% of respondants support her.
Noted at 10:53 PM. |

Modern Architecture 

Went to the new Bullring last week and was amazed at the new Selfridges store.

I just love the "Smartie Castle" as my youngest calls it but it's merits or otherwise seem to have divided opinion locally. The way it towers over the old St. Martin's Church is just magnificent.

Temples to the new religion and all that....
Noted at 10:39 PM. |

Friday, September 19, 2003

The funniest guy on television. 

This man deserves every single television award ever conceived. He won't ever receive them though. If you recognise him you will know what I mean and if you don't it is probably better that way.
Noted at 11:37 PM. |


This is a message to all home educators who struggle with doubt (Me included!). DON'T
Noted at 10:27 PM. |

Testing 'harming school science' 

It isn't rocketscience.

Teaching primary school children to pass tests is damaging their enthusiasm for science, researchers say. And they say some science lessons are too hard even for the non-specialist teachers, let alone the young children.

The comments are made in a study for the Futurelab at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

Its report argues for a whole new approach to science teaching, with more experimentation and observation and less rote learning.

Since when has experimentation and observation been a new approach to science. Experimentation and observation is science.
Noted at 10:23 PM. |

Now tihs is itnersetnig. 

This cropped up on the Education Otherwise mailing list

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.


I am trying to think of the implications of this with respect to dyslexia. If it is really not important how the letters appear in a word then is dyslexia really a learning handicap? Or if it is, does it necessarily have to be? I am sure a really clever person could help me out with this.
Noted at 10:14 PM. |

Kicked out of school at 4 

When I read stories such as this I get really sad.

A Tonbridge toddler has become one of the youngest children in the country to be excluded from school because of his outrageous behaviour.

Four-year-old Paul Holmewood was thrown out of Cage Green Primary School four days after term started for being aggressive to other children and swearing at and threatening teachers.

It is not the school that shocks me. They have to operate the ridiculous 'system' after all. But the mother's comments just make me want to do some harm:

Miss Holmewood, of Audley Avenue, said: "Paul wasn't given a chance. The school was aware he needed constant attention or he would crave it in other ways."

Paul has suffered with ADHD for about two years and is Miss Holmewood's second child to suffer with it.

The 28-year-old said: "Paul is too young to be prescribed Ritalin but if I cope with two children who both suffer from ADHD I cannot see why paid professionals can't."

Now whether ADHD exists as a condition or not I don't know, but I have my suspicions, but what is the liklihood of two children in the same family having it? Then there is the Ritalin statement. This mother seems to regret the fact that her son is too young to be drugged.

I may be wrong but I bet I can tell how these children live, what their house looks like and the mother's parenting skills.

Suffer the children....

Noted at 7:09 PM. |

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Joy of Home Education. 

Today we went for a museum trip. As this is term time there were lots of schoolchildren there. It was such a shame to see how a great learning opportunity was taken away from them by officious teachers, the need to stand in orderly queues and the lack of a sense of fun.

I guarantee that my kids learned at least double that of any of the uniformed prisoners and they did it whilst wandering around by themselves, talking to the curators, having a laugh and not concerning themselves with the thought that they were going to have to write all about it when they got back to school. Indeed, they showed such interest in some exhibits that they were allowed to go into areas that had been previously locked to the organised groups.

If they found something of interest they stayed as long as they wanted and did not get shunted around to the next item like Japanese tourists in Buckingham Palace.

When we left they had smiles on their faces and chatted animatedly about the things they had learned, unlike the poor children being herded to buses with expressions of complete and utter detachment and boredom etched upon their faces.

Oh, and they got really dirty too!
Noted at 6:57 PM. |

Excuses excuses.. 

I have linked to this curious story purely so that I can post up this picture. It is my blog and I can do what I like!

Why would anyone want to shoot down her door. More to the point shouldn't all famous UK residents be allowed to own a gun for their own protection? Come to think of it why can't we all?

More pics. here by the way.
Noted at 9:18 AM. |


A person who is subject to somnambulism; one who walks in his sleep; a sleepwalker; a noctambulist.

I just remembered this. I was really impressed when the eldest (8)called his little brother a somnambulist this evening.

"Where did you learn that son"

"Dexter's laboratory on Cartoon Network dad."

Noted at 12:16 AM. |

I am a bad parent... 

..but I am not the only one:

Tammy's Homeschooling Blog: "Ack! But we don't wear school uniforms or have strict standards for clothing. We wear whatever. I've got a t-shirt and shorts on. My daughter is wearing lounge pants, a t-shirt, with a bulky sweater over that. My son is wearing denim shorts, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. None of us have shoes on. We are not fashion plates. We don't get dressed up to learn. We've found we learn best when we're comfortable.
It's difficult for me to understand why the schools feel the need to teach (dictate to) the parents how their children should dress. It's sort of like the schools are the parents.

And while A&F isn't where we buy our clothes, they far surpass anything Wet Seal has to offer when it comes to quality (materials, workmanship, etc.). "

We went to the park this afternoon, my boys were in shorts and t-shirts. The local schoolkids came out in there WINTER uniforms. It was 26 degrees (80 degrees to you heathens across the pond!)

Noted at 12:03 AM. |

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The dark side of school life 

Right listen up you lot. This is what you confront your children with when they go to school. It is not an isolated case as it goes on to varying degrees in every school across the country. The bully may be another pupil, a teacher or just a member of staff but if your child has any 'difference' or refuses to 'fit in' you can be sure that they will come across a bully at some stage. Knowing that this is going to happen to them, if you continue to force them to go to school then you are part of the problem...You are the bully.

Take responsibility- Take your child out of school!

"For many children, the playground offers not fun but the misery of bullying. Christine Doyle talks to one victim and asks if the problem is getting worse"

A GIRL of 15 hanged herself after being tormented by bullies at a private school.

Police sorry - bullied boy's wait

Noted at 11:29 PM. |

Student life. 

Today I officially became a student. I will now be able to get discounts everywhere, build up my alcohol tolerance levels and run up loads of debt (And blame it all on the government!)

Yeah baby, yeah!!

I had to pay for my course though as I am not an asylum seeker, drunk or recovering from mental illness etc etc...
Noted at 6:55 PM. |

Traffic? What traffic? 

Alice Bachini: "Don't bother getting stuck in school-run traffic jams."

Alice spots an obvious advantage to home education!

It is amazing how much news becomes redundant when your kids don't go to school.
Noted at 6:51 PM. |

The great UK public health system..... 

We in the UK put up with many disadvantages compared to our American cousins but it is said many times that the one great institution we have over here that they don't have there is the NHS.

Well the ever ebullient Kim Du Toit has something to say about this. (The story is almost unbelievable by the way.)
Noted at 12:08 AM. |

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Feeling good 

I am so happy to have got this new template up and running that I am feeling too good to rant. Bloody typical!

Anyway, I am going out into the big wide world now so I am sure that by the time I come back someone will have upset me enough to get the old juices flowing.
Noted at 2:57 PM. |

Nearly finished tweaking the template.
Noted at 1:27 PM. |

Sunday, September 14, 2003

School is the best place for children to learn... 

Staff and pupils at a Dundee school have expressed their shock at the suicide of a 15-year-old girl who killed herself after reportedly being bullied.

How many more times does this have to happen before we learn?
Noted at 9:13 AM. |

Friday, September 12, 2003

This is the main Blogger editing screen. From here, you can create new posts, find and edit old posts, and publish your blog.

To begin, just click and start typing in the big white box in the top of the page. When you're done with your post (or just want to save what you have so far), hit the Post button in the upper right, beneath the tabs. This will save it to your account. When you are ready for the entry to show up on your webpage, click the Publish button. If you want to do both of these steps at once, use the Post & Publish button.

Noted at 3:01 PM. |

This is a test
Noted at 2:19 PM. |

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