A few weeks ago I took my son, Kai, to the London Wetland Centre (a wildlife centre in West London) to make up for not going to France. We’ve wanted to go here for a long time and checked out the website before going to see what was on offer; we were especially keen to see the otters. When we got to there we were hugely disappointed. The first birds we saw (barnacle and red-breasted geese) were huddled under a tree, unable to go very far due to the small area they were confined to. I didn’t realise that many of the birds there have their wings clipped( until one of the other visitors mentioned it) which made watching them very uncomfortable for me.
There is a selection of wild birds(not the above) that can be observed from the hides with and without binoculars. It was a pleasure to watch the wild birds, knowing that they can come and go at will, which is sort of the whole point of watching wildlife.
The most disappointing part of the visit was seeing the otters in their small enclosure surrounded by a pool of stagnant water. It was absolutely heartbreaking watching them running around as the crowds built up at feeding time, barking and yelping because they knew it was time for food( okay they could have been barking for another reason). The keeper informed us that the otters were raised in captivity and this was for their own protection, due to a decline in numbers. But I don’t feel this justifies keeping these magnificent creatures in captivity. Wouldn’t it be better to invest all our efforts to deal with the man-made causes of their decline including their loss of habitat( currently the main cause of a reduction in their numbers), poaching, their use in food and medicine, etc.
One of the two otters
I moaned quite a bit during the day, so Kai says. I was still very upset about not being able to go to France and this could well have made things worse. But I was very unhappy with certain aspects of the centre and it was important that my feelings had a productive outlet. So I resolved to contact the London Wetland Centre and offer some feedback from our visit when I returned home. I emailed them during the week and look forward to their response, if it comes. It is important that Kai see’s that I have the courage to speak out and stand up for my beliefs, then hopefully he will learn to do the same. It’s easy to moan and complain about things we do not like, but it takes real courage to take action. When those who are experiencing injustice are not in a position to speak out for themselves, it becomes the duty of those who can to honour the call.
Picture 1 credit: Taymaz Valley
“You home-educate, really?”
When people find out that I’m home-educating they are curious and quick to applaud my efforts, but often end with, “I couldn’t do that.”
The two main issues people generally have with home-ed are money and having to deal with their child full time. Yes, money can be an issue, if you let it. But when isn’t money an issue? I’ve rarely found someone for whom money isn’t an issue, and that’s irrespective of whether they home-educate or not. But that is not want I want to discuss in this post. I want to talk about the other issue: being forced into a very close and intense relationship with your children. Continue reading
Secondary school: should we or shouldn’t we?
It’s that time of year when many children in year 6(aged 10-11) are preparing for SATS and have recently found out which secondary schools they have been offered places at.
I applied for a secondary school place for Kai last year, while he was in school, as it made sense at the time. We recently received confirmation that Kai has been accepted at a very good boys school in my local area but I’m doubtful as to whether he will go. Good school or not, it’s still a school. And that’s likely to mean a restricted education within the confines of the school gates compared to the freedom and broad education he would receive outside of school. Continue reading
A quickie post…
We’ve been out of school (this time round) for four weeks and it’s been great when everything’s going great, but not so great on down days. One of the biggest challenges for me has been adjusting to our new and very unstructured lifestyle, and trying to have a broader view of my son’s learning. But I’ve been here before; in Finding Our Way I talk about the same issues. Moving away from the structure of the school system isn’t as easy as it sounds (even the second time round), not for me anyway. For Kai it’s a breeze; he just gets on with what he loves to do.
Accept that it’s okay to play with Lego–all day!
…and another gun
For much of this week Kai has concentrated on building new creations. What he does isn’t play but really serious work. He’s creations are becoming increasingly more complex and therefore require more time and effort. He’s spending a huge amount of time on YouTube and I sometimes struggle with this. I monitor what he’s watching and so it’s okay, she say’s; I still moan and tell him that he needs to be doing other things as well( writing, drawing , piano, etc). I completely forget that I’m meant to be allowing us both time to move away from the school system.
Time away from the academic stuff is probably a good thing
Having a complete break from doing anything remotely ‘schoolish’ is great for helping us to establish our own routine and get out of ‘school mode.’We find going out and about works well for us. Kai learns a great deal by being out-and-about; it gives him inspiration for his Lego creations and feeds his amazing storehouse of a memory. I also find that being out is crucial to help with the intensity of the relationship, which can sometimes feel claustrophobic. I love my son but it does take some mental re-adjusting to having him around nearly all the time. While we’re out we’re generally quite happy and that’s all that matters.:)
Finding inspiration In the Lego store Leicester Square
So much potential
When I was young was often told that I was bright. I didn’t really see much in it at the time; I wasn’t exceptional in any way, as far as I could see, but I did talk a lot, especially at school. I don’t remember my teachers being particularly flattering, but every so often I would hear, “Sarah, you have so much potential.” But what exactly did that mean? It sort of sounded like I was a bit special, but not quite. Or maybe ‘potential’ is the teachers’ cop-out when they don’t quite know what else to say. Who knows? Continue reading
Home-ed children benefit from their own personalised curriculum
One of the great advantages of home-ed is seeing how your children learn: what stimulates them and what doesn’t. Having them around you 24-7 enables you to adapt their learning methods to suit their particular needs. In doing this you are in effect devising their own unique curriculum. Observing and modifying their learning environment is an ongoing process because they are constantly growing and changing. This is where the school system lets many if not most children down. A one size fits all approach to the educational development of millions of children is doomed, and a total travesty if you consider the early learning and development of babies and toddlers, who despite no direct teaching at all, learn how to walk and talk in the comfort of their homes. Continue reading
How you home-educate your child is down to you
Everyone has their own reasons for home-educating. Some people dislike the structure and authoritarian nature of the school system; some children have endured bullying; some people just want the pleasure of spending more time with the children. Whatever the reason, our choices are unique to us and reflect what we believe to be best for our children, and our method of home-educating will often be a reflection of this. Again, this is our personal choice and no one has the right to tell you HOW you should home-educate. Continue reading