Thursday, 31 December 2009

Moving into the "Tennies"

I gave up New Year's resolutions a long time ago, ever since I failed spectacularly to 'give up' smoking 12 years in a row. (Thankfully I did stop smoking one September evening a long time ago, no calendar-induced promise required!)

However, moving into a new year I do like to have a think of where Gruff, Sprout, Squidge and I will be headed in the year to come, and with this in mind I have come up with my aims for 2010, some big, some small, and mostly just recorded here to jog my memory in a week when the usual day to day goings on have clogged up my brain so that any thoughts beyond changing nappies and how to spell c-a-t have no wriggle room.

1. We will start a business.

Now this one has been on the horizon for a while, being as I am stuck in a part time job which I dislike almost as much as I need it. While I passionately want to teach my children that you work to earn a living, I also want to show them that it is indeed possible to do something you enjoy rather than having your soul sucked out corporate stylee. Myriad ideas have been put forward, mulled over, and put on hold, so I am making this number one on our list.

2. We will grow more veg than last year.

Now, this was not for want of trying. A combination of me being in hospital, Gruff having a poor memory watering-wise, and an all-consuming platoon of slugs, led to our minimal harvest of 17 carrots, 26 runnerbeans, 12 tomatoes, some very mangy potatoes, and a raspberry. Yes, one. So any advice on organic slug control gratefully received! (And forgetful husbands!)

3. We will build a chicken house and keep some ex-battery hens.

Sprout is all for this, and he loved trying to grow veg last year so I think he would be a valuable helper. Plus any eggs would be a bonus, reluctant as I am to buy supermarket "free range"

4. We will start an informal scheme to collect cartons from the houses in our street and take them to the recycling centre.

It's bugged me for a while that the facilities exist locally to recycle juice cartons, yet they're not picked up. Not quite sure how this will go down with the neighbours (or should I say I'm pretty sure but I'm gonna try anyway!)

5. We will convince our MP that home education is a valuable thing and not an abberation to be ignored at best, wiped out at worst.

A long shot, but I'm going to keep on trying. One of these days he might even reply to me without weeks of repeated phone calls.

6. We will make all our gifts and be as sustainable as possible doing it.

We did make most of our Christmas gifts this year, but ended up buying birthday gifts for people. We also ended up using some wrapping paper, so I'll be hoarding alternatives (fabric, newspaper, old maps etc) early on this time!

7. Spend as much time as possible with our children.

Now this really should be at number one, but no matter, it's not in order of importance! In fact, this one should go without saying, however so much time in 2009 was spent fighting the government's plans to take over the role of parents in the UK, that it took valuable family time away from us, and for that I will never forgive the government. The fight is not nearly over, and you can help by getting everyone you know to sign the petition against these totalitarian plans here

So that's the summary of our plans for the year ahead, some big, some small, some personal, and some affecting all families in this country. Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, 21 December 2009

The unsurprising self-interest of the NASUWT

The article on page 23 of the December 2009 issue of the NASUWT magazine continues in the unsurprising vein of criticism of Home Education. I've reproduced it for you below, but rather than boring you with the original, riddled with spelling mistakes as it is, I've replaced Home Education with 'eating at home', in the hope that anyone who may have read this shocking piece of self-interested prejudice and thought it reasonable, may now reread it in a new light.

"Following a review of eating at home, the Government is propsing (sic) to introduce arrangements for the registration and monitoring of children who eat at home. The consultation document 'Eating at Home: Registration and montoring (sic) proposals' sets out proposals for a registration scheme and arrangements for the monitoring of provision to ensure all children receive the nutrition to which thet (sic) are entitled.

The National Union of Restaurateurs was cited in the 'Report to the Secretary of State on the Review of Eating at Home in England' by Graham Badman as an Organisation that supported a restaurant-based system of nutrition for all.

The Key recommendations within the report were that all children who eat at home should be:

* Registered with their LA
* visited regularly by an LA representative to ensure their wellbeing; and
* able to have access to facilities within restaurants

The National Union of Restaurateurs' response to the consultation stated that the only way the Government can be sure of meeting its stated aims within the Every Child Matters framework is to make restaurant meals obligatory for all children.

The Union was exrememly concerned with the findings of the report, which stated that there are no reliable estimates of the numbers of children who eat meals at home.

The National Union of Restaurateurs therefore agreed that if the Government was unable to make eating in restaurants obligatory, there should be an LA register of children who eat at home, with a network of support and monitoring to ensure that the nutrition of all children meets a set of nationaly agreed principles.

The National Union of Restaurateurs supported the recommendation to allow children who usually eat at home the option to use restaurant facilities but felt that this would need careful monitoring to ensure that it could be managed effectively.

The Union also expressed concerns that there were significant resource implications of the recommendations were agreed in full.

The final report from the DCSF is expected at the end of the year."

I tried to find a picture of a group of ignorant self-serving fools to accompany this post, however google kept redirecting me to the DCSF site. Weird.