Archive for January, 2010

January 30, 2010

It’s following me

Did you see the moon yesterday afternoon? I was driving with my two and a borrowed other two when we saw the moon rising but not yet illuminated by the sun. It was huge, hanging low in the sky between two bands of slate blue cloud and looking very intriguing. In the time it took to drive a mile or so, the sunlight had caught it and it was bright and shining.

When seeing the moon like this I imagine how travellers of old might have waited for a full moon to make their journeys. The road and the fields are revealed despite the hour and in my mind’s ear I can hear horses galloping carrying dashing young men carrying parcels or wares across counties.

Tonight the full moon is low and bright again. We saw it rise over Port Meadow after a walk along the river. I like the river a lot but one of the things I don’t like is that when you walk alongside it you can’t do anything other than walk back the way you came. The girls were running ahead of us and keen to keep opening gates until we said that we should stop at a large tree. Miss Froo prefers to be contrary when a choice of direction is made but we managed to convince her that if she continued she would eventually arrive back in her favourite park but it could take all night and all day.

My preference for circular journeys or alternative routes home comes from my Dad. With him, it seemed as though we never drove anywhere the same way twice. When we moved to a new town this drove my Mum mad because she couldn’t see how one place was connected to any other because we came at them from so many different directions.

Maybe I am like Miss Froo and like to have the choice to be contrary and follow a different route, not just follow a straight path.

(Can you see that in the tags to the right the words snow and storage are together? That made me smile)

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January 28, 2010

The Government Lies

I am a home educator. I am a parent. I am a citizen of this country. I have every right in law to choose how to educate my children.

BUT

The Government has decided that our rights are too many and allow us too much freedom. The minions in the Local Authorities who do their bidding misrepresent the law and cause anger and distress to those they serve so very poorly.

The Government has found a man who will lie to the DCSF, another man who will lie to Parliament and Oxfordshire County Council have a man who will lie to parents.

The first man, Graham Badman, lied about how many children who are the subjects of Serious Case Reviews with home education being the only significant factor. He has used this lie to tell the media and the government that home educated children are twice as likely to be abused by their parents than children of parents who send them to school for 6 hours a day.

The second man, Ed Balls, has lied to Parliament saying that “In the vast majority of cases, home-educating parents will want to co-operate fully – this will be very light touch indeed” ignoring the fact that 4127 out of 4717 respondents to the Consultation on HE Registration and Monitoring Proposals shouted a big fat NO to the question “Do you agree that the local authority should have the power to interview the child, alone if this is judged appropriate, or if not in the presence of a trusted person who is not the parent/carer?”

The third man, Roy Howarth, has a habit of calling parents of home educated children and telling them the lie that they *must* accept him visiting them because it is the law. Those who know otherwise are vocal in their rebuttals but those who are new to HE and have not yet found their feet nor yet unschooled themselves, end up agreeing to a visit and many spend a sleepless night beforehand worrying about what he might think of them.

These are the lies that affect me personally because if MPs believe the lies of the first two characters then the third will no longer be deceiving parents when he trots out his lines about the law.

The other lie that makes me so mad is somewhat less personal but pains me still is that of the threat of WMD from Iraq. Friday will see the ex-Prime Minister wheedle his way around the Chilcot Enquiry questions and absolve himself of responsibility for this lie.

MPs lie about who owns the house they are claiming expenses for, they lie about their mortgages, their cars, their employees.

Is there no end to the lying?

Home educators have stood up for their rights many times in the last year and done all we can to reveal the lies.

In London

In Oxford and in many other towns right across the country

The Public Bill Committee is now debating the Children’s Schools and Families Bill which proposes a fundamental shift in responsibility for the welfare and education of our children from parents to Government.
Why should home educators accept a law built on the lies of men paid to lie?

January 26, 2010

Too much stuff?

Moving one thing affects so many others and this last bout of furniture manoeuvres spread the clearing out bug as far as the bedrooms yesterday.

Once again, the result is the not unusual acceptance of the undeniable fact that we have too much stuff for a house this small. Which stinks because we can’t afford to move.

The thing we struggle with most is clothing storage so today when I read about a fellow sewist who aims to sew a hundred garments this year it set me thinking.

I am naturally habitually drawn towards a minimalism of sorts where possessions are concerned and I cannot imagine owning a hundred new garments on top of what we already have in the house. It isn’t just about space though, it is more about need. I can’t see myself needing much new stuff at all in the year ahead.

Did you ever read about The Little Brown Dress project? I became aware of it just as I was mid-fourth-pregnancy and huge in the summer for the first time with nothing to cover my belly that wasn’t made of wool.

I started reading about simple wardrobes and made three maternity tops and two wrap skirts which I wore day, after hot day, after hot day.

Post-partum hit in the autumn and I sewed two long length wrap skirts, one in a rusty orange wool and one in school grey cotton. I wore either one of them or a pair of jeans with a rotation of 3 jumpers and two waistcoats with cheap t-shirts underneath for warmth. The wool was great for EC misses and the wrap style means that if the babe pukes on your skirt you just wrap it the other way and put off washing it properly for another day at least!

That was in 2006 and here I am today, four winters later, wearing the orange wool skirt with a brown funnel neck jumper which I have owned since 2002 and a turquoise scarf Mr G bought me when he was still employed and had money to spend. (He isn’t unemployed now; we have our own business so employ ourselves)

People who know me will probably have realised that they see me wearing the same clothes on a regular basis but I don’t think they hate me for it or think that I lack originality – at least I hope not.

January 25, 2010

Today…

…I have mostly been listening to Megson and I have rearranged furniture to accommodate a new piece of furniture.

This thing is taller than it looks at 4’7″! The tall cupboard has shelves inside which is good or the girls would be hiding in it! The hidden shelves have swallowed my 40 or so overlocker cones; all my paper patterns, pattern books and machine guides; a basket of cotton remnants; more quilting cottons in larger pieces; a couple of Works In Progress and some muslins.

All that stuff was on a shelf and on the floor beside the sofa so this has freed up space for the oil heater that has been without a good corner out of the way since the start of the winter and left the shelf of another bookcase empty to fill with either the Lego or the train set or the castle and furniture. The open shelves on the bookcase now hold books, puzzles, dressing up clothes and dollies, backpacks, building blocks and a basket full of marble run bits. The stereo is on the top shelf and the photos which have been struggling alongside books now have a place of their own right on the top. Miss Froo has hidden something in the small cupboard but it isn’t easy to open so whatever it is may be there for some time.

These new arrangements have caused great upheaval because my kind of tidying and rearranging makes a lot of mess. The living room is in a scandalous state in every respect other than the new bookcase!!! Ooops. Mr Green is very tolerant of mess and he knew what lay ahead when he pressed me to just click to buy the bookcase but our eldest, The Famosisimo, came home from work and said “What the heck has happened here?” He is slightly more disturbed by change than the rest of us….

Amid the madness I have also changed the plug on the hairdryer because the boys had trodden on it at some point and it was hard to plug in. Another thing that was bugging me was Miss Froo’s coat lying around because the hanging loop had come un-stitched on one side so I sat and sewed that up too. Small things but two les things to be irked about in the long run.

Tomorrow I will clear up the rest of the room but already I feel that the Feng Shui bagua for children creativity and joy is much better than it was.