2012, Chichester, children, Firstborn, home education

Dancing In Her Converse

I know I’ve been ranting like a good ‘un and I thought, for balance, I would share with you the talents of my eldest daughter affectionately referred to as Firstborn on here.

Firstborn is a very keen photographer and currently studying at Level 3 on a BTEC Graphics & Photography course. Firstborn was one of our 2 children who were accepted at the younger age of 15 onto the Level 2 Art & Design course last year purely on the merit of her portfolio and the impression she gave at the interview. Having been home educated since the age of 7, Firstborn has avoided going down the GCSEs route. She completed the Level 2 course last year with a distinction.

Firstborn is probably one of the most amazing young women I’ve ever known. She’s sassy, conscientious, opinionated and passionate – qualities which I feel many young women struggle to hold on to under the societal’s pressures of thinking they need to be pretty, witty, pleasing and compliant. She is definitely the 17 year old I would have preferred to have been at her age.

I think she takes such beautifully evocative photographs. Firstborn appreciates the encouragement that she receives on her Facebook photography page, after all when you are that young, it takes a lot to be so open about what you are passionate about, for fear that the response might be less than encouraging.

But occasionally, something will rub someone up the wrong way. No matter what your original intention was.

This one stirred a fair bit of response.



Thankfully, others did not think it too.


If you are in the Chichester area and surroundings, and you are looking for a photographer, Firstborn is available for commission work. She’s long stopped accepting Oreos as payment and is now very keen to see hard cash for her hard work. 😉

Firstborn maintains both a Facebook page and a WordPress photography blog. She would be very thrilled if you would wander over and have a look.

Dancing In My Converse

Nadia Stephens Photography

Firstborn, home education, photography

I Am Joy

I’m sure you remember me mentioning our Firstborn and her passion for photography. She’s feeling pretty stoked at the moment as one of the photographs she submitted has been chosen by a panel at the Pallant House Gallery to be exhibited at the I Am Joy festival.

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blog, blogger, Chichester, children, Firstborn, home education

One Giant Leap

I think I’d be lying if I said that a no point in our home educating journey have either Slaveboy or myself wondered if we have done the children a great disservice. The Small Shouty One has started showing an interest in learning how to read and has been keenly practise spelling with Slaveboy. It’s the standard The Cat Sat On A Mat thing but Small Shouty seems to be making the leap that Zak Cool is still struggling with, and that is with 4 years difference between them.

Zak Cool sees no point in learning how to read at present, and I suppose, had he been our first one to do this, I’d be dragging his sorry butt to a home tutor by now. However, we have gone through this before. Many times. When we took Izzy The Rockstar out of school, he left with hardly any reading abilities. Or the inclination. Lalla, up until 2 years ago struggled with reading but is now writing compositions for her GCSE Drama course and able to extract the information she needs to decipher the train schedules and we all know how flummoxing that can be. Potato Bottom could hardly read two words six months ago and one day, she declared that she was halfway through The Naughtiest Girl In Town by Enid Blyton. I don’t understand the process or the mechanics but I suspect the driving force is the yearn and the curiosity. And probably a small amount of benign taunting from their peers and sheer nosiness.

And this past week has been a series of personal family achievements for us. Our children seem to prefer making one giant leap at a time, and like many giant leaps, you sorta take a momentarily pause or two to gather your momentum and get your footing right. Lalla won Gold Medal for the Southampton All Schools Diving competition. Izzy The Rockstar was offered the Level 2 of the Jazz Course at college (only time will tell if we can accept this offer depending on the funding situation) and Firstborn walked away from an interview today with an offer of a place on the Level 2 Art & Design course. And they did this without any formal qualifications in hand. Both Slaveboy and I did find ourselves wondering if we have just been incredibly lucky or perhaps we have been hedging our bets right by thinking that if we were to allow the children to pursue their passions and be strict enough to help them maintain their focus, we then would stand a chance in raising children who are passionate about learning.

I’m not convinced anymore that it is just about knowing what theorem pythagorus means, or what the speed of light is or even how to ask for the nearest public loo in Hokkien (there are apps that do that for you, don’t you know?). Knowledge and learning are subjective. Why should everyone have to learn and retain the same type of information in their head?

Why let a curriculum which was devised some years ago dictate what is important for you to know when the world is changing faster than we can keep up with?

Why not nurture inquisitiveness and creativity?

If you don’t dream it, then how can you scheme it?

P.S. To my caker baker followers, I will bake again. We have the lurgy and I’ve hurt my left thumb carrying my bargain wares from the carboot sale. It’s my recipe book page-turning thumb, you see.

blog, Chichester, children, Firstborn, home education, photography

Those Who Can’t Do……

Firstborn has been doing a college BTEC photography course. It has been life changing in a sense that she has discovered that she has a natural talent for it. I do admit that seeing that I am her Mother, I may be a tad biased but I can’t help but see immense talent. However, I don’t think my opinion is shared by her photography teacher.

Firstborn finds it incredible that he ignores her in class.

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