2012, children, home education

Educating Ferals

Recently, since the arrival of stacks of books from Slaveboy’s flat, I stumbled upon my old copy of Roots Of Racism booklet, a remnant from my old teacher training degree. It led to track own another copy of How Racism Came To Britain as I had lost my original copy.

The How Racism Came To Britain graphic novel was my first introduction to the fact that there is more to graphic novels than just The Silver Surfer and The Fabulous Freak Brothers. Being terribly literal, it surprised me just how effective the comic medium for conveying quite a meaty topic like racism.

This got me thinking about a racism and immigration activity I took part in at college for my Geography module. It was quite similar to this A Class Divided activity I recently found online and it got me thinking about just how aware (if at all) my children are about their bi-racial status.

Those who have seen photos of the seven children would know that they are all varying shades of skin colour – from fairly pale to light freckly skin to pink to olive to dusky. The Small Shouty One refers to herself as yellow. Firstborn gets mildly offended when people assume that she is Thai and laughs at the fact that her best friend said that she was chinegro.

I’ve also been rethinking the laid back approach we have been taking with the children’s home education. I’m hardly wishing that we have done things differently, but I’m aware that the needs of the youngest four are different now that th eldest three are so much more mature and able to direct themselves toward what interest them.

What with the constant battle to regain our home educating space which is very much sabotaged by my dining table with is doing its version of The Magical Rice Pot (in which the table seems to procreate and produce never-seen-before objects and crap on a dily basis), I’ve decided to trial a new multi-faceted approach.

Over the next month or so (time is this amorphous thing for us), I’ve sourced several books, music and film to get us going. I appreciate that some of this woud be too overwhelming for The Small Shouty One but there is a lot to be said about shared learning across a range of age groups. What I might not be able to explain simply enough myself more often than not can be explained more intuitively by an older child to a younger one.

I’m going to be starting with this film. I’ve been wanting to watch it for ages and I think it would grab the children’s attention. The setting. The costumes. The music.


With most of the materials I plan to use, I doubt we would really be doing much written work on them. I’m hoping that it might generate discussion, open their horizon to different approaches to story telling and also give them a basic understanding of how much history still affects our day to day living.

Potato Bottom who is a voracious reader (hurray to children who wait til they’re 9 before they started reading!!) should find the both the storyline and language to To Kill A Mockingbird intriguing and challenging. This is one of my favourite books, and Slaveboy’s too. In fact, The Seventh Wonder is named after its author.


I’ve chosen several easy going books for the much younger ones too. Not all of them are about race relations but they are about tolerance, differences and prejudice. Again these engages the questioning side of children through images and simple concepts.













I absolutely love well thought out children’s books. It just cuts through the crap and delivers the message without spin, jargon and feigned political correctness. Good children’s books cuts through the self censoring bullshit that adults can’t help but think they need to apply when discussing sensitive issues.

I’m waiting on this book. I have great expectations for it.


Finally, I think I’ll be introducing the younger children to this album. When it first came out, I was immediately grabbed by the substance it delivered. Anne Braden is a favourite.


What topics have grabbed you? Enough to feel that I need my children to know this urge? I’d love to hear from you. You don’t need to be a home edder, parents invariably impart knowledge to their children – school or no school.



This Is Our 2011

And I am ready to lay it to rest. This year has been bittersweet, seeing us giddy and nauseous from the roller coaster ride that 2010 had presented us. Steeling our bellies, and struggling to regain equilibrium and initiate some momentum into our lives as a family. 

Blogging has been a release. A channel where I could focus on harnessing the ever-decreasing circle which had inhabited my mind for the past to years. It has also made me take up writing creatively as i am a passionate believer that everrything hinges on the telling, not the tale itself. 

Baking was an exercise in re-learning that some things are just a process, that you could mess up one component of a process and slow down its completion but these components are fixable, replaceable and afterall, part of the process. I sort of like to apply this concept to life itself, that rather than short, brief moments defining you forever, you’re actually involved in a process and that there is no race. You can see no one chasing you in the wing mirror. All you have is this unreaching horizon of what is the future and all you have tangible in your hands is the now.

Roller derby was a way to make peace with my physical self which at some deep rooted level, I felt had failed me when I was pregnant of the 7th Wonder. My physical self and I can look each other in the eyes now. 

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home, home education

A Rose Is A Rose….

I was expecting life to be a whole lot more different now that I have two teenagers attending college. We almost considered having some sort of celebratory wake to commemorate the end of their home educating era. After all, we are sending off our young like virgin human sacrifices, ripe and ready to be devoured by the big bad world of mainstream education. The sanctity of our family home will be tainted by the outside world and our family dynamics will never be the same again.

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apples, bake

Caramel Apple Cake Squares

I’m feeling incredibly whacked today. This week has been such a roller coaster and both Slaveboy and I are feeling it. Tuesday saw us attending an All Party Parliamentary Group meeting on Home Education at Westminster Palace in London. We’ve had a few momentous events this week anyway, what with Izzy The Rockstar and Firstborn starting college and Lalla starting her first competitive diving class. Instead of spending time revelling in this new phase of our lives, we found ourselves on a train to London, armed with a shoddy cappuccino and powdery chocolate muffin.

I’m not even going to tell you how late the train but it was enough to alter our plans in London. By the time we hit China Town, after a brief but hilarious foray in Soho, Slaveboy had lost the plot and insisted that we just go into the first restaurant we stumbled upon.

It was those roasted ducks hanging upside down in the window, they get him every time.

Our lunch bill came to £42, and that was without any alcohol in the order. I think our lunch order included every other creature in the Animal Kingdom and I even ordered a few dishes I had no idea what they were.

As we were making our way to the Westminster Palace, it struck me how disreputable we both looked – Slaveboy in his cowboy hat and Grateful Dead tee shirt and those who know me outside the blogsphere will agree that I come with a default disreputable look anyway (The Big Issue vendors avoid me, rather than the other way round). We did however comment, as we queued for the security check at Westminster Palace, about how fortuitous it was that we hadn’t bought anything interesting from the interesting shops in Soho. That would’ve been an awkward conversation to have had with the security guard.

I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of the meeting. Those who are interested, I will be posting an entry on this separately at a later date once I verify the details.

I made this for the pop-up stall owned by the Green Earth guys in Chichester.

Caramel Apple Cake Squares
500g caster sugar
25g butter
3 eggs
375ml oil
375g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups diced apples

-Preheat oven to 170C.
-Take 300g of the sugar and caramelise it with 50ml of water until it is dark amber. Take it off the heat and add the diced apples. Stir well and put it back on medium heat, stirring continuously until the caramel melts. Add the butter. Allow to cool.
-Take the remaining 290g of sugar and cream it with the eggs and oil.
-Add the vanilla extract.
-Fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
-Finally, add the caramelised diced apples.
-Place in a square cake tin, around 9inch by 9inch.
-Bake for around 30 minutes, but you might need longer. Use a cocktail stick to check if it is done.
-When hot, use a knife to create slits into the cake. Pour on the caramel top when the cake is still hot.

85g butter
220g dark muscovado sugar
25ml milk

Melt the three ingredients and boil for 2 minutes. Pour on to the hot cake. Allow to set.

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, Crazy life stuff, home education

Another Brick In The Wall

Do you know how much your child’s college education will cost you? In real money terms? I do. How about I tell you that in order to further his education, I will be handing over a cheque for the sum of £4231 to the college for a whole year’s course.

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