Thursday, 10 September 2009

Dawn of a new Era...

Well it is for me!

I have been pondering on my plans for the next year and I don't think I have ever been this excited, not even as a teenager lol. I'm so glad I did the Mummy bit when I was still young which means that now before I hit any significant birthdays I can map out my future path with pretty much no outer pressures other than what Mr Doxie and I want out of life.

After taking on more responsibility than most parents do for our child's education we have gone from really full on during every waking hour (if we weren't "doing" we were making plans for the "doing"... evenings were for assessing what had been done, bed time reading was lesson planning...the mind was constantly occupied with the one theme) to now being completely free with how we spend our days with no outer pressure. What was it Tony Blair said..." Education, education, education ?" Until you have home educated you don't know Jack about education!

Even though home ed is something I would do all over again with no question, my only regret being that he ever went to school and I wish we'd done it from day one...It is nice now to hand over the reigns to somebody else and be me again.

For fun I was writing a list of what makes me smile at this new stage and what makes me feel so good.

1) Now I can dress how I dressing down anymore or dressing conservatively because I am around little children, no extra warm clothes because I have an hour's walk in the rain...I can wear heels again! ( EDITED to say, not for long as since I have started learning to drive I am back in flats! )

2) I don't feel obliged to record how we spent the day.

3) I can do absolutely nothing all day if I wish...okay I won't get any work done, but as I am my own boss it is MY choice. :o)

4)I can learn things for ME

5) I can stay up late for fun

6) I have time to read for pleasure.

7) I will not be too knackered in the evenings to see friends

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Doxiemobile I love you!

I LOVE, love, love my Doxiemobile! I've been out in it locally with the L plates and it is all I hoped it would be and more. Sharp End fits in the boot and is quite happy. You'd think he'd been in it a thousand times already. Even though he doesn't have the space he is used to in Mr Doxie's car he doesn't seem to mind at all. His dog guard arrived today so he can go out with us which ever car we use...and there will be room for new puppy too!

She is a delight to sit in,very comfy and still smells new, although I am sure Sharp End will soon take care of that!...She came with very low mileage which I know is genuine as I know her history. :o) With room for friends,dogs,shopping and smart enough for work what more could I want? The future is bright! I am going to have so much fun whizzing about here and there.

Doxie...nearly mobile :o)

Goodbye drug of choice

Before my driving lesson I usually pump myself full of caffeine to ensure alertness ... If I am honest, the reason is that one of my oldest and dearest friends was killed in a minibus accident ( not in this country ) and it was alleged the driver fell asleep so thus he was a totally innocent victim of somebody else's tiredness...well this week with Mr Doxie working from home my routine was a bit different and I realised about 10 mins before Mr Patience was due to pick me up that I had not had my usual double if not triple cappuccino...there was no time to throw it down my neck at the last minute so I just had to go out without a boost of my drug of choice.

What a difference...I pulled away quicker at junctions, I did my manoeuvres with no internal agitation or self criticism and was generally waaay calmer throughout the lesson. The only slightly wobbly bit was practising the "hanging off the top of the cliff" bit aka proper clutch control on a hill. Even that went a hundred times better than last week. Today I froze ( and my eyes leaked )at the thought of the first attempt but with a bit of gentle talking around I did as I was told, when I was told, and it went fine from then was probably helped by the fact that Mr Patience was determined not to let me off the hook but he did this by reading the mood and with exactly the right attitude...even if things do go a bit wonky he always makes sure I learn from the situation so everything good or bad is fruitful in some way.

We ended the lesson with driving down the road by the river (where I envisaged stopping at the pub and having a sit in the sunshine, oooh tempting!)...and then back via the local roundabout of doom ( it is ginormous ), but in reality it wasn't really as bad as people make it out to be...I can't believe I just wrote that LOL...maybe I just approached it from the easiest side today!

All in all it was one of the least eventful and calm lessons I've had and was told a definite " No more caffeine for you in future Missy!" If next week is just the same I will have to admit that coffee is not the friend I thought it was. Hey ho, you live and learn.

Doxie :o)

Friday, 4 September 2009

Not that sure what all the fuss is about...

Well I have now finished the Agatha Christie too. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Wodehouse. I sussed out "whodunnit" pretty early on so I just kept reading in the hope I was wrong and was going to be shocked and surprised...which I wasn't. Never mind, maybe it was a one off. I will try another one sometime but if the character building is as drawn out and tedious as in Sparkling Cyanide I won't be filling my bookshelf with any more ACs.

On my bedside table I now have "Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick. It is hard not trying to imagine the film as you are reading it, but I expect I will get over that as I get deeper into it.

It is years since I have read novels for pleasure. My bookshelves have been full of nothing but educational stuff really ever since I became a Mother and definitely a home educator. It is thoroughly pleasant going to bed reading for no reason at all, rather than reading as a precursor to lesson planning.

Doxie who will have gone through every book in the local library in a year if she carries on at this rate! ;o)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

I survived my cliff top adventure!

I hung on to the branch with all my might.Hanging over the top of a very steep cliff was petrifying...I mean that as it sounds...I was was as if I had been turned to stone. I couldn't move a muscle. Hearing but blocking out the instructions to let go and heave myself over the top.

"Trust me." he kept saying. I knew he could be trusted but fear had such a grip over me I just ceased to function. "Breathe." he said...This command actually got through to my frozen brain. I started to try and calm myself with deep began to work...and I started to see reason and come back to reality.

"Have you seen the angle you're at?" he asked with amusement. All I knew is that my entire body had become one tense muscle, leaning forward as far as it would go for fear of tipping the balance. " Look at how tight your grip is!" he observed.

"Of course it's tight!" I told him "I'm teetering on the top of a cliff, that is my branch I'm holding!"

" You're going to put a dent in my steering wheel if you hold it any tighter."

Okay now I slightly relaxed...only slightly though.

In the end he talked me out of my frozen posture and I managed to heave the both of us over that cliff as you will no doubt realise seeing as this is in the past tense, and if I had still been there in that rigid state I would have never been able to let go to do a spot of touch typing to update my blog!

Well that is how my driving lesson ended yesterday. If I wrote it like a drama, that's because it felt like a drama! The cliff was a junction at the top of a very steep and long hill ( can you have a long hill I wonder? ). For some reason the small amount of sanity I posess went completely out of the window. I say for some reason, well perhaps the reason was there was a rather nice car parked behind me and even though my dodgy clutch control probably only caused me to roll back inches I had vivid visions of rolling back and smashing into said parked car.

In spite of this ridiculous hiccup at the last post I think I had improved over all. We went out to the "big city", and I coped with several lanes of traffic on busy roundabouts...I also drove through what looked like a decidedly dodgy area and had a run down on what had been going on there the week before, which had the desired effect of me keeping my speed up so we could make good our escape before any of it happened to us ( well that was what was going through my mind...I don't DO cities! ). On the way back I asked if I could have a medal, he declined my request but upped my score on roundabouts. I now have 3/5 on roundabouts.

Oh I forgot to say that I cut my eyeball ... so I embarked on my lesson in a less than calm state, taking my bag with me this time just in case it worsened and I had to drive to the doc's surgery half way through my lesson ( who knows? Eyes are weird things ). Mr patience personified has told me before that your state of mind will affect your driving so I choose to believe that little mishap earlier that morning may indeed have had a knock on effect when I got behind the wheel...who knows?

What I do know is that Mr Patience never lets me off the hook for anything. He informed me that next lesson will have lots of hills, though he did say maybe slightly gentler ones to get my confidence up...I think the hills are okay, it's just gravity that scares me!

Doxie, onward and upwards! :o)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Small rant

The education law as it stands at the time of writing clearly states that a child's education is the responsibility of the parents.

Most of us are ( in my mind ) duped into think school is compulsory which it is not, education is compulsory, which you will see if you read the Education Act.

Therefore I find it really odd that lots of home-edders are causing such a stink lately about not being given free this and that, including exam centres and access to labs and such. The word people are forgetting here is choice. You make a choice. Okay it is the biggest pain in the butt if you choose to send your child to school and the school does not deliver or provide what you see as a safe and appropriate environment for your child BUT...if ultimately if you take your child out of school, or home educate them in the first place, you are doing no differently than those who choose to follow the independent school route...they have to pay and pay they do...mostly it seems they get what they pay for, but my gripe is why do home educators suddenly think they have all these rights to free funding and equal rights to accessing those facilities that school children have access to...they are not in the school system, the school system provides them yes, but you have chosen not to be in it. I am not talking about things out of the system such as access to commercial things like Leisure Centres and private educational facilities such as Science theatres...then I feel it is a bit unfair if a certain section of society is being denied something that others do just because they are coming at it from a slightly different angle but their aim and use of the facility is the same ...but in that case the gripe should be with the provider and has nothing to do with the school system.

Come on you whingers in the home-ed community...why should you get everything for free...if you get it for free then let everyone get it for free including the independent schools' lot as well. That is in my opinion a crazy notion...deciding to home-ed is not a decision any parent should take lightly and with it goes the responsibility of YOU providing that education.

Stop whinging it is hard to find exam centres...did you ever think it would be EASY? The system is geared up for school are not in the system.

Stop whinging that correspondence courses cost so much...Hello, are we even on the same planet?...why should someone write courses free just for you?

Stop whinging that it takes up all your time...erm yes...home-ed is a lifestyle it is a 24/7 thing.

Stop whinging that your kids are driving you up the wall...erm if they were in school they would be driving the teacher up the wall...if you don't like spending time with your kids why did you have them and why did you even contemplate home education...or maybe it is a discipline thing...I am not even going to go there!

Education is not a game...mostly education doesn't just happen...some does through the spirit of adventure but the things such as the 3Rs are not going to drop out of the proverbial sky into your child's lap. You have to put effort in.

I could say we have survived the home-ed years but that would make it sound like it was a chore, nothing done with love is a chore...yes it was hard at times...there were times when I was throwing up with stress for days on end...did I whinge? No! Did I crumble when those outside sought to interfere? Internally yes... but I kept a hard exterior and fought for what I knew was right...and might I add won! I went into this lark a mouse and came out a Lion. I did not just educate my child, this family was strong in the beginning but is even stronger now. We have all learned a lot, academically obviously but also about what is really important in life, who we are and what we need.

I make it sound as if the home-ed years are over but as DS pointed out to me when I mistakenly said we had come to the end of a journey that no we have not come to the end. After all these years this is now a way of life...and a way that DS said he will always live. He always wants to be learning new things, meeting new people and improving himself. He is a confident intelligent young man whom I am proud to call my son and these last few years are ones that I will treasure forever. Fellow Home-edders when you are whinging and moaning just remember that so many parents rarely get to know their kids like we do...the kids don't truly know their parents. I remember the old school days when ds was so exhausted he would come home flop on the sofa and veg, it was hard to get any idea of what he done that day out of him...there are situations like that all over the country every day sad as it is that is a lot of folks way of thankful that it is YOU that your kids spend the majority of their waking hours with each day, instead of some teacher than you may have met once or twice if you are get the quality time, you have the time and opportunity to become a real family whilst others are moaning that they never get any decent time with their kids.

Phew, that feels better...and yes after 8/9 years of doing this lark I think I am entitled to an opinion on this!

Doxie, getting down from her soap box.