Friday, 26 October 2018

A compilation of Pumpkins

Looking back on ten years plus of home education as Halloween approaches I realise that pumpkins are probably one of the best reflections and explanations of what we've been up to!

Initially it was TD's drill that created Moshi Monsters, camper vans, Minions, Hypixel logos, Minecraft themes, Pokemon, Mario characters, a Star Wars Death Star, Studio Ghibli connections and Tim Burton characters mostly out of the vegetables grown at our allotment.

The allotment has been in our family 13 years and looking back on our pumpkins they are a great guide to the passions, projects and interests that have been the driving force of our home education. They are a great reflection of the books we've read, games we've played, movies we've watched and places we've visited in pursuit of more knowledge and deeper learning about our chosen themes.

More recent years it has been the trio helping out and getting involved. Gradually and with love.

And, as already one has announced they don't want to trick or treat this year, a reminder that nothing stays the same forever.

2017 - There were enough small pumpkins from the allotment to carve # HAPPYHALLOWEEN

2016 Hypixel and Pokemon including Pikachu and Haunter

2015 - Emojis plus 2015 Boba Fett and Master Chief and I had a Studio Ghibli

2014  Clones and Minecraft

2013 - Death Stars, VW campers and minions

2012 Moshi Monsters shortly after I wrote this lovely post

 2016 was a haunter from Pokemon Go and Et's Hypixel logo

 A pokeball!

 Katsuma from Moshi Monsters
 Star Wars and Minecraft above with My Neighbour Totoro below

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Over the years since we started researching a life outside school in 2004 I have always tried to be more pro-home education than anti-school but just recently I am once again wondering why we are considered the weird ones - From the news recently - moaning about all this is quite normal - being the change you want to see - well, that's just downright strange!

Obviously I don't want to criticise teachers - the majority of  whom are already overworked and unpaid and coping with a broken system that is overly reliant on testing.

 I am more concerned for children who have one childhood - they do not have a voice

This is my place to link to articles so that when people say it is Home Educated children that need safeguarding I have a list to show maybe they have a rose tinted view of the reality of safety in school. There are procedures in place that appear in many cases not to be working

From the BBC website today Abusive voicemail shocks Mum

Guardian - same paper that has been pretty negative about Home Ed recently today published this about the decline in mental health and this about the dangers of off rolling leading to gang grooming

More and more revelations emerging about historic sex abuse at Christs Hospital

Girl age 13 commits suicide after being bullied at school

Boy 11 driven to suicide by school bullies

Almost two-thirds of children worry 'all the time'

Deputy head Jonathan Norbury banned for sex with teens

Teacher shortage getting worse, say MPs

Number of teachers reported for inappropriate contact with pupils is soaring as one targets a six-year-old

Crumbling schools in England need more than £6billion just to bring them into 'satisfactory condition'

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Information on Home Educator Days Out - 2018

In no particular order 

Home Educators can visit Winchester Science Centre anytime but during term time they have Home Ed days - the next two are June 15th and July 13th on which you can turn up no booking required - We love the Planetarium (shows are charged extra) - I think we might have been here 50 times in our gallivanting years since 2010. Children are £4.98 each and one adult per group is free - you can also picnic indoors making this a really affordable winter day out.

Marwell Wildlife near Winchester - is  a great deal - you do not need to book as a group but you do need to book 3 days before for their education rate - for phone phobes this can all be done on line once you are registered - prices vary depending on the season between £5.45 and £7.65 with one free adult per three children and additional adults are charged the same rate as children. (you book in advance but pay on the day) Marwell has a brand new tropical house, which we've already visited twice since it opened at Easter, and indoor picnic area - There is often a large home ed gathering at Marwell in July.

Fishers Farm - For discounted entry you need to make a group booking with a minimum number of 25 and pay a deposit but you do not need to enter as a group and can leave names on the door - this is organised by a Facebook group which has a deposit float. Depending  on season the group rate is between £8.50 and £12.50 per person.

Air Arena in Chichester welcomes home educators every weekday term time afternoon for the great price of £5 (you will to purchase special grip need socks) No need to book - updates are posted in the Facebook group.

Drusillas I have organised many group trips to the lovely Drusillas over the years. Minimum group size is 15 and you do need to enter as a group. Drusillas have happily customised mixed age and mixed ability workshops for us in the past with a solid understanding and knowledgeable staff who are not phased by this. Wprkshops cost around £1 per person extra.

Brooklands Museum - welcome group home educator visits There is one happening in July if you would like to be included. Children are £4 each. There is a great selection of aeroplanes, buses, cars and bikes.

Whipsnade - We were really impressed with our visit to Whipsnade in January - They have elephants! Booking is really easy - As I posted in our local group "I have just come off the phone from booking this - could not have been easier I just phoned 01582 872171 and spoke to a real actual human being immediately after one ring of the phone - they took my card details over the phone and the tickets had been emailed before I hung up the call. Only £31.25 for all four of us." That was in January - Summer is obviously slightly more expensive. We are going back next month.

National Trust - From 2011 to 2015 we really enjoyed our Home Educators membership (details in link) of the National Trust making repeated visits to our nearest Petworth House and even writing guest blog posts for Uppark near Midhurst where they also invited us to road test their school holiday activities. 

Bignor Roman Villa - offer bespoke workshops for Home Educators - ours lead to us appearing on the front of their promotional leaflet in 2015

Guildford AirHop and Spectrum also offer Home Ed rates

If I have forgotten anywhere within a one hour ish radius of Pulborough that offers Home Ed rates do post up in the comments below

Monday, 30 April 2018

Books About Children Who Don't Go to School - Originally published on The Gallivanters in 2015

Books about children who don't go to school

So, this article appeared in the Guardian today entitled 

Except they do. My friend Mel has a comprehensive list here (but you'll need a password to read it)

I was certain I'd seen a more contemporary list recently but maybe it was a list of authors who didn't go to  school I was confusing it with - Agatha Christie, Beatrix Potter, the author of the Eragon series Christopher Paolini' that's a very good list for discussion too.

#HomeEdHour on Twitter often lands up with a book focus, sharing tales of overspend on paperbacks and "shelifies" but after googling and asking and not finding  the contemporary list I was after I decided to start a new one.

I'll list out the books S (which are pretty much all written this century)  has read, a few I've read with O then add those contributions by others from Twitter at the end - hopefully fleshing them out with one sentence type reviews in time.

Saff (10) likes YA contemporary fiction and settings of home ed she can relate to so again that's modern contemporary fiction - it's the technology that does it I think.  As a background these are the books she read in 2014

On holiday last year we read "Wonder" by R J Palacio which is the story of a home schooled boy transitioning into school in America. It's a really wonderful book about a boy called August and was published in 2012

S says

"It was good for August to go to school. It showed him that people would accept him once they got to know him. For August it was hard but worth it."

S (10) mentioned Cathy Cassidy's "Scarlett" to me recently as the main character in the story is briefly Home Schooled when other things in her life change. S really likes Cathy Cassidy books as they are again very modern and this one is published in 2012.

S says

"I liked Scarlett because although I didn't relate to her character much before I did when she was home schooled. Now I am a bit older I know kids are overloaded with homework and when she said "Yes. No homework." I got that."

S also tells me that Artemis Fowl pulls himself out of school since his Mum goes nuts and his Dad is dead. She read the whole of the this series last year and they were published from 2011 to the present.


The characters in Roof Toppers, (written in 2013) a book we read for our book club last year, don't attend school. We also read Pippi Longstocking with our book club and Pippi is educated otherwise.

In the historical fiction series the "Roman Mysteries" Flavia, Nubia, Lupus and Jonathan don't go to school. That was another book club read.

It's not all about books though, there are movies too (some of which are the books above!) and this list from Joyce is ace. And also famous YouTubers S likes the Kittiesmama channel about a home schooling family.

Orin is six so a different kind of book appeals to him

O (6) and I have read the beautiful "The Boy who climbed into the Moon" by David Almond several times and it features a great line about not feeling like going to school. I mentioned on the blog last year that David Almond is known for Mina who is home educated

O and I  also reviewed "Who's not in School?" recently and that is a book written specifically about a child not going to school rather than an aside to the main plot. It is aimed at much younger children. There are other books like this egThe Day Amala Didn't Start School and Freya and Heath are Home Educated but they are more about home education specifically rather than a featuring a character who is home educated. 

These books have been contributed by twitter but are not necessarily ones we have ourselves read - reviews of these titles welcome. An blog carnival? Or in the comments is fine.

@Keris "My Name is Mina" David J Almond
@liveotherwise Kingdom of Silk (Tiskin Silk) , One by Sarah Crossan 
@mamacrow Many of the Enid Blyton books are set in the school hols, Tracy Beaker (Jacqueline Wilson) Rosemary Sutcliffe, Biggles, Jungle Books, Kim (also Kipling) Secret Garden, Silver Sword

If you add to this article and are on twitter the following people have expressed an interest in this subject area

@liveotherwise @keris @playbythebook @mamacrow @miriamhcraig @janelevicki @rmountney @davidjalmond @cathycassidyxx @louiestowell @rossmountney7 @birdsnestbooks  


Zoe Toft said...
Thanks for this and for including me in the discussion. My 10 year old suggests the two Ottoline books (by Chris Riddell) which are not Ottoline goes to School. Ottoline's parents are away and send her experiments to work on.
Taryn @ Hayes Happenings said...
Great article. I also saw the Guardian article. It echoed my thoughts from a couple of years ago, which is why I chose then to write a contemporary fiction novel about few homeschooled kids. It's an adventure that has them delve into a bit of history. All as a result of finding an intriguing message in a bottle. You can see it here: tarynhayes dot com. You're welcome to add it to your growing list.
Katie Pybus said...
Cheers Zoe. I asked Saff about Goth Girl as she really likes Chris Riddell too but I forgot Ottoline.

Thanks Taryn - I have just checked your website and I think that ties in with the "I know there is a South African one" tweet I received!

Also from Elizabeth Foss on Twitter The Precious One
Katie Pybus said...
NB One by Sarah Crossan which has come highly recommended from several YA contemporary fiction tweeters does not seem to be released for general sale
Jax Blunt said...
One is out on 27th August - there's a review on my blog too.

The list behind the password stretches the not going to school point rather, it includes things like Harry Potter. I think the point made in the original article and one that I would agree with, is that home education is either a plot point or a passing fad, it's rarely presented just as a normal thing, and that is what we are missing.
Keris Stainton said...
I think the only YA book mentioned is One by Sarah Crossan. Definitely need more home ed in YA.
Katie Pybus said...
I remember feeling similar about children's books that normalised breastfeeding way back in 2--5/6 Jax - We had a few that were specifically about breastfeeding eg We Like To Nurse but just to see an illustration of a breast rather than a bottle in a book about a new sibling say was very unusual.

Saff has said many times that she will never go to school but if a Hogwarts letter was to turn up she would consider it (she is 11 in November)

One has had lots of positive reviews already Keris - I hope this post has boosted it's preorders I know we have!

The volume of books purchased by home educators often comes up on #homeedhour as a topic and I would imagine it larger than the numbers of home educated children might suggest!

I have 2 book fans and one who is much keener on movies which is why I included the movie list too.

It might also be handy to split into secular and religious

Thank-You so much to everyone who has taken the time to comment and share
Katie Pybus said...
Although not YA more middle school age another book in the pipeline has been shared with me
Katie Pybus said...
Although not YA more middle school age another book in the pipeline has been shared with me
Katie Pybus said...
Homeednetwork on Twitter shared this list from goodreads. There's a couple of overlapping titles but several books on here I'd never heard of
Katie Pybus said...
Homeednetwork on Twitter shared this list from goodreads. There's a couple of overlapping titles but several books on here I'd never heard of
Katie Pybus said...
Homeednetwork on Twitter shared this list from goodreads. There's a couple of overlapping titles but several books on here I'd never heard of
Katie Pybus said...

Another add this time an audio book aimed at younger children

The Railway Children (E Nesbit) and Little Women have both been mentioned a few times - they are also in the Books Without School link that you need a password to read
jo said...
HEIDI by Joanna Spyri is wonderful! Being raised by her Grandad up the mountain, they just naturally do home education without naming it. He tells her the names of flowers as they come upon them on the mountains and she puts them in a book and labels them. She watches him do his carving and woodwork and copies him. Loads of love and conversation, etc.. Then when she is in Hamburg, the hired tutor tries to teach her to read in a traditional way, but it doesn't work. When the kind Granny comes, she shows Heidi a special book about plants and mountains, inspires her to want to read, and hey presto, she reads very quickly!
Its very in tune with home-ed, or indeed just the natural way that we have raised our children for 1000s of years!
Katie Pybus said...
Since writing this post S (10) has read a couple of the Emily Strange books mentioned in the good reads list but doesn't think Emily is #homeed she just bunks off alot.

She also has 50 pages left of One which arrived (and was released) yesterday I'll link to her review and Jax's when I update this post.
Katie Pybus said...
Saff has read One since I published this post and her review is on Amazon.
She has also read more Emily the Strange books and discovered that Emily is now Home Schooled and has lots of other angles
Stephenie said...
I happened to stumble upon this blogpost and saw that my book, "Nellie Nova Takes Flight" was mentioned in the comments. Thanks for the mention! The book actually came out recently.

Thanks again for the mention and happy reading! :)
Katie Pybus said...
Harriet has a home tutor in picture perfect by Holly Smale. S finished the Geek Girl series after I'd published this post
Ronnie said...
Surviving the Applewhites - The Applewhites are unschoolers so this one is my absolute favorite.

Stargirl - although she gives school a try in the book
Lisa Cottrell-Bentley said...
You've missed all the books which include the Wright on Time books, My Solar-Powered History series, Bubbles and Puddles, Cody Greene and the Rainbow Mystery, The Howling Vowels books, and more!
Katie Pybus said...
Thanks so much

A compilation of Pumpkins

Looking back on ten years plus of home education as Halloween approaches I realise that pumpkins are probably one of the best reflection...